P&G'S BOUNTY ADS RULED MISLEADING

But Legal Spill With Rival Brawny May Not Be Over

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CINCINNATI (AdAge.com) -- Georgia-Pacific Corp. has won a round in the legal battle of Brawny vs. Bounty, but makers of the leading paper towel brands haven't yet mopped up all their differences.

Procter & Gamble Co. said today it will

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Lawsuit Alleges P&G's Bounty Claims Are Misleading
pull current TV, print and radio ads from Publicis Groupe's Publicis Worldwide, New York, for Bounty paper towels after a private arbitration panel, in a lawsuit brought by Georgia-Pacific Corp., maker of rival Brawny, ruled the product demos in the ads didn't adequately reflect relative performance of the brands. A Georgia-Pacific spokesman said the panel found the ads "literally false."

The private binding arbitration ruling was not available and cannot be appealed.

A superior product
The P&G spokesman said the three-person arbitration panel agreed Bounty is superior to Brawny and found the comparative testing protocol P&G used was valid, but that the demos did not fully match the testing protocol. The arbitrators also awarded Georgia-Pacific legal fees, but did not order P&G to run ads retracting earlier claims, as Georgia-Pacific had requested in its original lawsuit.

Georgia-Pacific sued P&G in September over a similar ad, which was later modified into the current version, titled "Maneuver," when Brawny launched an improved paper towel late last year. Both ads show category leader Bounty holding spills that drip from an unnamed leading competitor, which is No. 2 brand Brawny.

The two sides agreed in December to submit their disputes to arbitration. A Georgia-Pacific spokesman said the suit will be dismissed once P&G complies with the arbitrators' ruling.

Piqued at Brawny ad
But the clash of the paper towel titans may not end there. The P&G spokesman said the company is exploring its legal options regarding copy in a recent national newspaper insert that claimed improved Brawny is 40% more absorbent, even though each towel is actually 20% smaller.

"We can't comment on what we might do based on what [P&G] might do in the future," the Georgia-Pacific spokesman said.

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