Sebamed can continue claiming their soap is superior to HUL’s, rules Bombay HC
However, Sebamed cannot compare HUL’s soaps to washing detergents
The Bombay High Court has allowed German personal care brand Sebamed to continue displaying advertisements claiming their soap is superior to Hindustan Unilever’s (HUL) soaps. However, Sebamed cannot compare HUL’s soaps to washing detergents, as it has done in its recent campaign, the court ruled in its injunction order passed on January 19. The high court bench reportedly concluded that Sebamed ads were backed by evidence-based data.
The matter was taken to the court by HUL with the plea to retrain Sebamed’s campaign from all mediums.
The ad war between HUL and Sebamed began after the latter came out with a campaign claiming that its cleansing bar is better than HUL’s. While ads very often claim that a particular company's products are superior, Sebamed directly named HUL's brands such as Dove, Rin, Pears and Lux, even claiming that beauty soaps such as Lux, Pears, and Santoor have the same pH levels as dishwashing soap bar Rin. In the campaign creative, they placed a strip of litmus paper on all the soaps in question to illustrate their point. The campaign is titled Filmstars kee nahi, science kee suno - a clear reference to Lux soap which has always been known as the 'filmstars’ soap'.
In video commercials shared on YouTube and on Sebamed India's Twitter handle, the company claimed its cleansing bar has a Ph level of 5.5, lower than that of HUL's Dove (7) and Lux (10). Sebamed also used the same marketing strategy in advertisements shared in newspapers and on Twitter.
"The personal care industry has always been conditioned to follow standard beauty practices in order to make it appealing to consumers. However, when we came across Sebamed and what the brand wanted to convey to its consumers, we decided to communicate the product truth through our campaign, without any silver coating. Striking the right balance between the bandwagon fallacy and authenticity, the brand is building a connection with its consumers through demonstration-based advertising with an honest approach," The Womb, the agency that conceptualised the campaign, had told exchange4media.
As for HUL, it responded with a newspaper advertisement of its own, which claimed dermatologists trusted Dove. The brand’s response to its competitor said, “Our brands are best-in-class & deliver fully on the promises...backed by strong tech, science, clinical evidence & decades of expert and consumer-backed testing, enjoying strong brand loyalty. We will take suitable action as we deem fit.”
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