Beauty giant Dove has been forced to take an advertisement for its shampoo off television screens after it was deemed misleading to viewers.

The commercial for Dove Hair Care, which claimed 90 per cent of Kiwi women recommend its products, received a number of complaints from viewers who said it was "clearly misleading".

Complainants rejected the 90 per cent claim, calling it an "impossible percentage". All wanted to see evidence to support the figure, with one saying: "Can they prove that figure or is it perhaps pulled out of Australian Air."

The campaign showed four women talking about their hair in four different versions of the advertisement, with all four claiming 90 per cent of New Zealand woman would recommend it.

Dove owner Unilever said it had made it clear the figure came from its Beauty Review Dove Hair Survey in May 2013, in which samples were sent to 221 New Zealand women aged between 25 and 55 with dry, damaged or split hair. Of those 90.9 per cent agreed they would recommend Dove Hair Care products to a friend or family member.

A disclaimer with this fine print was included in the ad, however the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it did not feature on the same part as the claim.

Dove claimed its ad was presented "in the context of women who have tried Dove Hair Care products", which viewers would understand.

The Commercial Approvals Bureau (CAB) agreed with Dove in its submission to the board, saying "because the advertiser's claims are verifiable, and because the evidentiary basis of those claims has been directly quoted in the commercial, CAB sees no grounds for this complaint to be upheld".

However, the ASA said Dove had presented its survey findings in a way which was likely to mislead or deceive viewers, and the advert had not been prepared with a due sense of social responsibility.

It upheld the complaint and ordered Dove to take the ad off the air.

In another decision released yesterday, the ASA rejected a complaint that cosmetics manufacturer L'Oreal had led viewers to believe its Elvive Arginine Resist shampoo would "cure thinning hair" in its advert featuring singer Jennifer Lopez.

The commercial claimed the product would strengthen hair and help it grow more resistant, which would "reduce hairfall".

The ASA said this "was not presented in a way which might imply that the product would 'cure' hair fall", and did not uphold the complaint.


By Patrice Dougan Email Patrice