P&G caught out for ‘misleadingly exaggerating’ hair dye capability

By Andrew MCDOUGALL contact

- Last updated on GMT

P&G caught out for ‘misleadingly exaggerating’ hair dye capability

Related tags: Advertising

Procter & Gamble has been told to discontinue adverts for its Nicen’ Easy hair dye which feature the actress Christina Hendricks after complaints led the Advertising Standards Authority to deem that they ‘misleadingly exaggerated the capability of the product.’

The TV advert in question for the home hair dye featured the Mad Men​ star with red hair before being shown again with blonde hair after apparently using the colouring product.

Seemingly a normal representation, right? Wrong. Two complaints were sent to the UK advertising watchdog from hair colour specialists who challenged whether the colour change depicted could be achieved using the product alone, claiming the ad ‘misleadingly exaggerated the capability of the product.’

Before and after..?

P&G said the colour change depicted in the ad was from Nicen’ Easy red shade 6R (natural light auburn) to natural honey blonde (8G), and that it was first broadcast in April 2015, with the colour transformation kept secret before this.

And this is where it gets a little confusing…

The first phase of the TV campaign, which was prior to this, had only shown Christina Hendricks with red hair. So for the ads that featured the ‘blonde’ change, the consumer goods giant coloured Hendricks’ hair using the blonde shade in October 2014 and shot that part of the ad that showed her with blonde hair.

Her hair was then dyed using the red shade on the following day, with the part of the TV ad that showed her with red hair being shot the day after that to ensure the planned broadcast dates were met.

P&G says that although it would ideally have shot the ‘red’ part of the ad first, it was conscious that particular care needed to be taken for reasons of hair health and it was also important that her hair was red after the shoots, because the new shade was not yet to be publicly revealed.

“It was still reflective of Nicen’ Easy shade 6R, a dark red, when [P&G] had coloured her hair blonde in October 2014,”​ said the advertiser’s statement which was submitted with a photo that was taken around two weeks earlier to demonstrate that.


However, the ASA considered viewers were likely to understand the ad to mean the colour change shown could be achieved using the Nicen’ Easy product alone, when dying hair from the type of red shade depicted, to a similar blonde shade to that in the ad.

Although it acknowledged there were practical reasons for P&G having shot the ‘blonde’ part of the ad first, it stated the colour effects shown had been achieved firstly by colouring the model’s hair to blonde after it had not been coloured for around eight weeks, and then by dying her hair from blonde to a vibrant red, which wasn’t the impression given in the ad.

It adds that as ‘the visual claim had not been substantiated’, and given that the sequence in which the model’s hair was coloured leading up to the TV shoots did not match the depiction in the ad, it was misleading and should not be shown again in the current form.

Related topics: Market Trends, Hair Care

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