Says Pringles vs. Stax Taste Claim Is False

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CINCINNATI (AdAge.com) -- Procter & Gamble Co. is asking PepsiCo's Frito-Lay to stop running ads claiming consumers prefer the taste of Lay's Stax potato crisps to P&G's Pringles, calling the ads false.

Frito-Lay has no intention of pulling the ads, which a spokesman said are based on independent consumer research.

Oscar ad
A P&G spokeswoman today said P&G has sent Frito-Lay a letter asking the company to stop the comparative ad campaign, which began Friday with full-page newspaper ads in USA Today and other newspapers and included a new TV ad from Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, New York, that aired during the Academy Awards on ABC Sunday night.

"Our data shows, and we have a very large base, a directional preference toward Pringles [vs. Stax]," the P&G spokeswoman said, though she added: "They were very close."

The Frito-Lay spokesman said: "Our consumer preference research is based on fact and the advertising will continue."

He said Frito-Lay's national research showed consumers prefer the regular flavor of Stax to the regular flavor of Pringles by a 5-4 margin.

First step
Letters asking advertisers to cease and desist are generally the first step in a process that may later include complaining to the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus or filing a civil suit. The P&G spokeswoman declined to comment on P&G's next step until it receives a formal response from Frito-Lay.

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