PLAYTEX WINS FALSE-ADVERTISING SUIT AGAINST P&G

$2.96 Million Judgement May Be Appealed

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CINCINNATI (AdAge.com) -- A U.S. District Court jury in New York today awarded Playtex Products $2.96 million in its false advertising suit against Procter & Gamble Co.

Playtex charged that P&G's ads, from Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett, for Tampax Pearl tampons falsely claimed the Tampax product is superior to similar Playtex products.

"We feel it's a spectacular victory,"

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said Chris Kurjanowicz, vice president for marketing of Playtex feminine products. "We always look forward to competing fairly in the marketplace and we expect P&G to do so also. This has always been a case about the truth."

Possible appeal
"Because the decision is just plain wrong," said a P&G spokeswoman, "we're studying our appeal options. "The most meaningful verdict is the one women make after they have tried Tampax Pearl, realize that it is superior to the leading plastic and then purchase more. That decision is handed down every day by thousands of women at the store shelf."

Since its launch last fall, Tampax Pearl has erased a 5-point market share decline for the brand after P&G acquired it in 1998. The Pearl launch has inflicted heavy damage on Playtex's tampon business, sales for which fell 20.2% in the first quarter to $48.8 million.

"It's shameful in my opinion that a company of the size and reputation of a P&G would spend as much money in trying to just basically unseat a much smaller competitor in a category such as this and in our opinion resort to ... false and misleading advertising and the infringement of a patent of ours in order to take this kind of attack," Playtex CEO Michael Gallagher, who began his career with P&G in the 1970s, said during a conference call last month discussing those results.

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