National Advertising Division Recommends P&G Discontinue Claim that Olay Body Wash “Improves Skin 3X Better” than the Leading Body Wash

For Immediate Release
Contact: Abby Hills, Director of Communications, BBB National Programs

703.247.9330 / press@bbbnp.org

New York, NY – March 16, 2022 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs recommended that The Procter and Gamble Company (P&G) discontinue the claim that Olay body wash “improves skin 3X better” than the leading body wash. NAD also recommended that the advertiser modify the disclosure in its “Lessons in Layering” print advertisement to accurately identify the body wash used in its supporting study.

These claims, made by P&G in digital, print, and TV advertising, were challenged by Unilever United States, Inc. (Unilever), maker of competing personal care products.

In each of the challenged advertisements, NAD found one reasonable interpretation of the “improves skin 3X better” claim to be that P&G’s Olay Premium body wash improves skin three times better with regard to any one of the skin attributes mentioned in the context of the advertisement, such as brightness, smoothness, radiance, hydration, or wrinkles. Even when the 3x improvement claim is not featured alongside other skin attributes, NAD found that the net impression is still one of general skin improvement. In addition, NAD concluded that the claim conveyed a comparative superiority message versus Unilever’s Dove.

Further, NAD determined that the disclosure “versus the leading body wash after 14 days, based on clinical moisture retention” was not sufficient to qualify the takeaway of the claim “improves skin 3X better” to clinical moisture retention.

As support for its claims, P&G relied on the results of its Leg Controlled Application Test (LCAT), a clinical method for in vivo testing of cleansing products. NAD found that P&G’s LCAT methodology is consumer-relevant and tested an appropriate population. However, NAD concluded that the LCAT study was not a good fit to support the claim that Olay body wash “improves skin 3X better” than Dove body wash because:

  • P&G’s calculation of the 3X ratio of improvement of Olay Ultra Moisture over Dove Deep Moisture is not accurate or consumer-relevant; and
  • The testing P&G submitted only tests for moisture retention or moisturization, therefore the LCAT results do not support the 3X improvement messages reasonably conveyed by the challenged advertisements.

For these reasons, NAD recommended that P&G discontinue the claim that Olay body wash “improves skin 3X better” than the leading body wash.

In addition, NAD noted that the disclosure in P&G’s “Lessons in Layering” print advertisement references a clinical study on Olay Premium body wash, whereas the clinical study submitted by P&G to support the claims was conducted on Olay Ultra Moisture body wash. While NAD found the difference between Olay Ultra Moisture and Olay Premium body washes to be non¬material, it recommended that the disclosure be modified to accurately state the product used by the participants in P&G’s LCAT.

Finally, based on P&G’s assurances that a challenged print advertisement featuring Olay Cleansing and Nourishing Body Wash with B3 and hyaluronic acid and television commercials titled “A Struggle” are not current and have been permanently discontinued, NAD did not review these on the merits.

In its advertiser statement, P&G stated that it “agrees to comply with NAD’s recommendations” and noted that it “remains a strong supporter of the industry self-regulatory process.”

All BBB National Programs case decision summaries can be found in the case decision library. For the full text of NAD, NARB, and CARU decisions, subscribe to the online archive.

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About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumer trust and consumers are heard. The non-profit organization creates a fairer playing field for businesses and a better experience for consumers through the development and delivery of effective third-party accountability and dispute resolution programs. Embracing its role as an independent organization since the restructuring of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in June 2019, BBB National Programs today oversees more than a dozen leading national industry self-regulation programs, and continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-directed marketing, and privacy. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.

About the National Advertising Division: The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs provides independent self-regulation and dispute resolution services, guiding the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for advertising truth and accuracy, delivering meaningful protection to consumers and leveling the playing field for business.  

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