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Persil accused of Greenwashing with latest TV advert banned

Persil has come under fire as the latest company accused of “greenwashing”, with their latest advertisement banned based on unsubstantiated claims that they are “kinder to our planet”.

The ASA (advertising standards authority) are currently cracking down on adverts using greenwashing, falsely branding products as eco-friendly, or being misleading about their positive impact on the planet.

The Persil advert features many children driven by climate change news rushing to the beach to clean up litter. The bottle used for Persil products is also claimed to be made with 50% recycled plastic. The advert in full can be shown below;

The line “kinder to our planet” caused an individual to complain to the ASA, suggesting that this line was unsubstantiated. The ASA agreed, suggesting that there was little/no evidence that Persil’s products had a kinder or more positive impact on the planet than its competitors.

Understandably, Unilever, the company that owns Persil, was unhappy with the decision to ban the advert from television. They countered the ASA’s response by claiming that the ability to use Persil’s products on a shorter cycle at colder temperatures resulted in a positive impact on the environment. Unilever also said the use of recycled plastic in their bottles was also a “kinder” solution to the planet’s current climate change issues.

However, it may have been the overuse of environmental claims on the advert that ultimately led to the Persil advert being banned. With children clearing up litter, the mention of recycled plastic, Persil’s wider environmental initiatives and other messaging made the ASA claim that the main reasoning behind the line “kinder to our planet” was unclear. The ASA also said that if the positive impacts of a shorter colder clothes cycle in comparison to previous or competitor products were included, this may have prevented the advert from being taken off screens.

What are your thoughts on Persil’s advert? Should it have been banned or left alone? Let us know in the comments below.

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