Shield: no so long-lasting, says a regulator
  • Shield says its new anti-perspirant deodorants and roll-ons will keep you fresh for 72 hours.
  • But South Africa’s ad regulator says it is not allowed to make that claim.
  • The makers of Shield have now been told to withdraw advertising that implies you may still smell socially acceptable after 72 hours.
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South Africa’s Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) has instructed the makers of Shield, consumer giant Unilever, to withdraw claims, from all advertising, that its deodorant can keep you fresh for 72 hours.

There is no evidence that a user can still smell “socially acceptable” after a period of 72 hours, the regulator said

The ruling follows a complaint that was lodged by a user who said that, in their experience, the protection offered did not last even for 12 hours, after two weeks of using the Shield deodorant.

In one version of the campaign, a still image of a man dressed in athletic clothes posing as a runner is seen with an animated time icon beside him, conveying passing time; it counts the hours until it eventually stops at 72 hours.

The ad is accompanied by claims that the deodorant can keep you “fresh as you move,” implying that the protection it offers is long-lasting.

“New Shield 72 hour protection. First impressions last, make sure you stay fresh as you move, with new advanced Shield, 72 hour sweat and odour protection. It won’t let you down,” it says.

The ARB expressed discomfort with the 72-hour claim and said, while it may be true that consumers would reasonably expect the effect of the product to diminish over time, the phrasing chosen by Shield leads to the expectation that one would still smell “socially acceptable” after 72 hours of normal movement.

It said the advertised efficacy should have a “real-world application” to be of interest to consumers.

Evidence presented by Unilever shows that users of the deodorants will "smell statistically significantly better than they would have without the product", said the ARB. But for the antiperspirant to work for 72 hours, "one must assume that this person is not bathing, as bathing would remove the product."

“In this case, the consumer would understand that at the end of the 72 hours, they would not, to be blunt, stink,” it said.

The advertising regulator also took issue with the phrase “first impressions last” which implied that the product is as effective as when first used, suggesting that the product has a sustained effect instead of a dwindling one.

“The commercial is therefore misleading, and in contravention of Clause 4.2.1 of Section II of the Code of Advertising Practice,” the regulator said.

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