P&G PULLS AD FOR ALWAYS FEMININE-CARE BRAND

Said Decision Wasn't Based on NAD Ruling Citing Misleading Claim

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CINCINNATI (AdAge.com) -- Procter & Gamble Co. has discontinued an ad that claims Always sanitary pads are "five times cleaner and drier," but the company said the decision isn't because of a recommendation to do so from the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

The NAD today recommended P&G drop the ad, saying the claim had been substantiated in comparison to previous Always products but not in comparison to competitive products. Rival Kimberly-Clark Corp., marketer of Kotex, brought the issue to the NAD.

To appeal findings
A P&G spokeswoman said P&G already

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had dropped the ad and similar claims on packages as planned because of a six-month legal time limit on such product-improvement claims. But P&G is still appealing the NAD findings to the National Advertising Review Board.

The ad is among factors that helped reverse a two-year decline in market share for the category-leading Always brand. It was created last year by Publicis Groupe's D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York, but the account has shifted to Publicis sibling Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, following the holding company's decision last year to close D'Arcy.

The NAD recommended P&G more clearly disclose on its packaging that the "five times" claim applies only to previous Always products. But in an interview earlier this month, Melanie Healey, vice president and general manager of P&G's North American feminine care business, said the claim applies both to previous Always products and to competitive products.

'Unequivocal scientific proof'
"Our researchers presented unequivocal scientific proof that new Always Ultra Thin is cleaner and drier than our largest competitor and also showed conclusive feedback from consumer tests," a spokeswoman said.

P&G also faces charges by rival Playtex Products that advertising from Burnett for Tampax Pearl tampons is misleading. A hearing is set for March 24 on a motion for preliminary injunction in Playtex's false advertising lawsuit against P&G in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. P&G has said the suit lacks merit and that claims in Tampax ads are fully substantiated.

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