ASA bans Alberto Culver’s Tresemme hair care ads

By Pooja Kondhia

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Hair care Hair conditioner

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has decided to ban Alberto Culver’s press and TV ads for the tresemme hairs care products, deeming them to be misleading to the consumer.

The ads claim to make hair ten times stronger after just one use of tresemme Naturals shampoo and conditioner; three complaints were made against the ads.

One of the complainants, a hairdresser challenged whether the claim ‘Giving you hair that’s ten times stronger after only one wash’, was misleading and could be substantiated.

Misleading advertising

Stating that Alberto Culver claims the tresemme shampoo and conditioner resulted in ten-times stronger hair after just one use, the ASA believe the company did not adequately advertise the fact that this was strength in terms of resistance to brushing or combing hair.

The ASA commented on the fact that without further explanation, consumers would be likely to infer that the tresemme shampoo and conditioner would make hair physically stronger as opposed to just more resistant to brushing, from the claim.

This was particularly valid in the press ad as there was no explanation given of the ‘10x stronger’ claim, whereas, in the TV ad, there was on-screen text stating ‘*strength measured against resistance to brushing’.

Non-representative claims

Alberto Culver also added that a trial was undertaken in which tested hair had been bleached to replicate damage caused to hair by heat styling and colouring; the company claimed that 60 to 70 per cent of tresemme users coloured or highlighted their hair in some way.

However, in response to this, the ASA found that as the trial was carried out on bleached hair, it had not demonstrated that the product would have the same effect on all hair types.

Furthermore, the ASA also stated that the claim, made by Alberto Culver, that the vast majority of UK women coloured or highlighted their hair in some way, was non-representative of all women, as it found that a large number of women did not colour treat their hair.

Thus, another reason for the banned ads was that the ad did not specifically state that the ten-times stronger claim was in relation to colour treated hair.

Accepted industry standards

With regards to the claims made in the ads, Alberto Culver stated it was well known that the use of shampoos and conditioners resulted in smoother hair fibres which reduced resistance to brushing, and combing with consequent lowered hair breakage when doing so.

The company also stated that it believed ‘stronger’ hair would be understood by consumers to be hair which was less prone to breakage when combed or brushed.

Moreover, it stated that the accepted industry standard for evaluating hair damage induced by wet and dry combing was the ‘repeated combing test’, also known as ‘flogging’.

Two adverts

Alberto Culver led with two types of ads for the promotion of the tresemme hair care products; a written press ad and a TV ad. The press ad was headed with the claim ’10x stronger after just one use* Naturally’, which was also used in the body of the ad. It ended with ‘*TRESemme Naturals Shampoo and Conditioner versus non conditioning shampoo’ at the bottom of the ad.

The TV ad featured a male hairdresser with a female customer with a voice-over that stated “For smoother looking hair that's ten times stronger after one use.” Additionally, there was on-screen text, which stated ‘*Strength measured against resistance to brushing. TRESemme NATURALS Shampoo and Conditioners vs non conditioning shampoos’.

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