Persil advert banned over misleading environmental claims

Unilever claim that Persil is "kinder to our planet" in the banned television advert


An advert for Persil has been banned over being misleading about the product's environmental benefits.

Unilever, who manufacture and market the product, said in a television advert that Persil is "kinder to our planet" while featuring children picking up litter off a beach.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) concluded that the claim made in the advert was unsubstantiated.

Unilever have spoken out on the verdict, saying it has left them "disappointed".

The move comes as part of the ASA's crackdown on "greenwashing," as the regulatory body looks to crack down on claims made by firms about their products being sustainable and eco-friendly.

The advert says the product is "kinder to our planet".
The advert says the product is "kinder to our planet".
Unilever has been left disappointed by the decision.
Unilever has been left disappointed by the decision.

In the television advert that has now been banned, children are seen clearing beaches that have been filled with litter.

A voiceover said: "For real change we all need to roll up our sleeves and get dirty."

The Persil bottle is shown in the advert, which states it is made from 50 percent recycled plastic.

A viewer complained to the watchdog that the claim the product is "kinder" to the planet is unsubstantiated.

The review was upheld, with the ASA saying Unilever could only make the claim if the product does offer an environmental benefit over similar products.

A statement reads: "Although we acknowledged Persil were undertaking actions to reduce the environmental impact of their products, we had not seen evidence or analysis to demonstrate the overall environmental impact of the featured liquid detergents over their full-life cycles, compared with Persil's own previous products or other products, in support of the claim 'kinder to our planet."

Unilever said their product does offer a tangible environmental benefit in how it washes at lower temperatures and at faster rates, while recycled plastic is used for the bottle.

A Unilever spokesperson told the BBC that they were left "disappointed" with the verdict.

"We are committed to making on-going improvements to all our products to make them more sustainable and will continue to look at how we can share this with our shoppers", they said.

The ASA said: "In the context of the entire ad with several messages relating to environmental issues, we considered the meaning and basis of the claim 'kinder to our planet' was unclear.

"Additionally, in the absence of evidence demonstrating that the full-life cycle of the product had a lesser environmental impact compared to a previous formulation, we concluded the ad was likely to mislead."