BBB National Programs Archive

Revlon Challenges Advertising Claims For Clairol Hair-Coloring

New York, New York – August  4, 2009 – The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that Procter & Gamble discontinue an advertising claim made by its Clairol division for Clairol Balsam Lasting Color, an at-home permanent hair-coloring product.

The claim at issue – “Lasts up to 2 weeks longer than ColorSilk” – appeared in print and Internet advertising and on product packaging. NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, examined the claim, following a challenge by Revlon Consumer Products Corp., the maker of ColorSilk products.

NAD noted in its decision that the claim “lasts up to 2 weeks longer”  might have communicated the message that consumers do no not need to reapply the Clairol product as often as the Revlon product. Further, NAD noted, the claim conveys the message that the product offers a comparative benefit in the appearance of hair coloring that is both noticeable and meaningful for some period of time (up to two weeks).

In its decision, NAD said that it “recognizes that that both the challenger and advertiser possess considerable expertise in the science of hair coloring and product testing, yet the parties each submitted comparative testing yielding conflicting results.”

NAD noted that the advertiser’s testing was conducted on hair tresses only, rather than on human subjects and questioned whether, in conjunction with other shortcomings, testing on tresses only served as an adequate substitute for real-world testing. NAD also noted that the testing was conducted internally and that the evidence did not include official reports or protocols (addressing issues such as blinding) consistent with reliable clinical practice.

Because the advertiser’s evidence was insufficient to substantiate the challenged claim, it was not necessary for NAD to determine whether the challenger’s evidence was more robust and persuasive. However, NAD noted certain advantages in Revlon’s testing: 1) It was conducted independently and was double-blind, 2) it was conducted on human hair/heads and 3) scoring was conducted at baseline and weekly by three separate methods – independent cosmetologists, consumer panelists and instrumental measurements.

Following its review of the evidence in the record, NAD determined that the claim that Clairol Balsam lasts “up to two weeks longer” than Revlon ColorSilk was not adequately substantiated and recommended that the claim be discontinued.

Procter & Gamble, in its advertiser’s statement, said it “respectfully totally disagrees with the NAD decision, but will abide with the decision in future advertising.”