Remove False Claims from Tampon Ads, Judge Orders P&G

03 June 2003

Procter & Gamble must overhaul advertising for its tampons after a US judge declared they could not be called “superior” to a competitor.

Judge William H Pauley issued a court order late last week forbidding P&G from claiming its Tampax Pearl product outperforms the Gentle Glide tampon from rival firm Playtex. It may not use terms such as “superior”, “better” or “more” in comparing the two brands.

Playtex took Cincinnati’s finest to court for making such claims, and last week a jury agreed that P&G was guilty of false advertising. As a result, the consumer goods colossus was told to pay $2.96 million (€2.53m; £1.82m) in damages [WAMN: 27-May].

Pauley ordered P&G to change its TV and print ads, packaging, coupons and direct mail to remove any offending terms. It must also inform retailers and distributors to take down any displays making unfair comparisons with Playtex.

P&G said it would comply with the order, though it plans to appeal against the jury’s decision. In a rare show of humility, it also retracted a statement made last week that claimed “the most meaningful verdict” would be made not by a court of law but by female shoppers. “We completely respect the integrity of the court and the jury’s verdict,” it backtracked.

Data sourced from: USA Today; additional content by WARC staff