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Withdraw toothpaste print ad, HC orders Pepsodent

Accepting toothpaste manufacturer Colgate Palmolive’s plea, the Delhi High Court has directed its rival Pepsodent Germicheck to withdraw its print advertisement, saying the same appears to be ‘prima facie disparaging’ of the Colgate brand.

The court, however, said Pepsodent’s TV advertisement is not disparaging but the voice over on it is ‘misleading and inaccurate’ and asked Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) to modify Pepsodent’s TV commercial.

The bench’s order came on Colgate Palmolive’s plea against the High Court’s single-judge August 21 order declining to restrain Hindustan Unilever Ltd from issuing the advertisment on Pepsodent Germicheck for allegedly disparaging Colgate toothpaste.

‘We restrain the respondent (HUL) and/ or its agents from publishing the impugned print advertisement or any other similar advertisement which disparages Colgate ST (Colgate Strong Teeth) or any other product of the appellants (Colgate),’ an HC bench of justices B D Ahmed and Vibhu Bakhru said.

‘To sum up, in our view, the impugned TVC cannot be stated to be per se disparaging Colgate ST. However, the voice-over at the end of the impugned TVC which states... is misleading and inaccurate. Thus, this statement in the voice-over is directed to be deleted from the impugned TVC or, at the option of the respondent, may be suitably modified to refer only to Colgate ST (Colgate Strong Teeth).....’

The court in its order accepted the argument that the print advertisement is disparaging, noting that the ad ‘not only conveys an impression that use of Colgate would not be as effective as Pepsodent but also conveys an impression that use of Colgate ST instead of Pepsodent GSP would result in causing harm and discomfort to its consumers.’
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