The ASA have upheld a ruling against Dettol for an advert which encouraged consumers to purchase a refill pouch 'with 70% less plastic' as opposed to purchasing another plastic bottle.
A couple of complainants challenged whether the advert misleadingly implied that the refill pouch was more environmentally friendly than a plastic bottle, on the basis that the pouches are not widely recyclable.
The advertiser acknowledged that many councils were not able to recycle the thin plastic used for the pouches, but had sensibly partnered with TerraCycle to allow consumers to recycle the pouch at no additional cost, arguably thereby neutralising the issue of the pouch.
Ultimately, the ASA were not convinced. They stated that the BCAP Code made it clear that 'environmental claims should be based on the full life cycle of the advertised product or service, unless the ad stated otherwise.'
The ruling is a cautionary tale for brands making green claims. The green lobby will pass your claims through a fine toothcomb and if they find any flaws, they'll be straight on to the ASA.
The ad received two complaints, which argued that because the refill pouches were not widely recyclable, the ad misleadingly implied the product was more environmentally beneficial than plastic cleaner bottles, which were widely recycled.