A new advert for Pantene Pro-V shampoo has set the industry abuzz after the small print revealed that the central claim of the campaign was disagreed with by over 90% of the ridiculously small sample size surveyed, which is believed to be a first even amongst cosmetics advertising.
The ad boldly proclaims that the new product leaves hair ‘even more shinier and clean looking and stuff than ever’, but the text which appears briefly at the bottom of the screen shows that only ‘9% of 11 women surveyed agree’. This has led to an investigation by the Advertising Standards Agency after they received a number of complaints from rival companies, who were disappointed that they hadn’t thought of this tactic before Pantene.
‘We regularly waste several hours surveying up to 70 people before embarking on an expensive advertising campaign based on a dubious 60% success rate. I never would have believed that we could get away with even less.’ said Maxine Carver, UK marketing manager for Garnier, ‘This campaign could revolutionise the way shampoo is advertised, with even more emphasis on bright colours and made up, scientific-sounding words like “volumosity”, and less time dedicated to actually seeing if people like the product.’
Industry analyst Clive Atkinson has urged caution though, warning that a campaign based on a 0% success rate would be likely to be banned by the ASA, and companies should ensure that at least one person agrees with their vague and questionable claims before launching a campaign on national television.
‘I will be very interested to see the outcome of the investigation into this advert. It is an admittedly poor result, but a proper survey was carried out, and one person did agree with the claim, so I don’t believe the ASA can uphold this complaint.’ explained Mr Atkinson, ‘The fact that the one person was the sister of Pantene’s advertising director is irrelevant. So are the claims from several of those surveyed that the product didn’t make their hair ‘shinier and clean’ but actually left it ‘greasy, disgusting and fallen out on the floor’, because they had that all important positive response.’
This is not the first time Pantene have found their advertising under scrutiny. A previous campaign was pulled, and a disgruntled junior member of the marketing team fired, after an investigation found that ‘it’snotmyjobtomakeupchemicalswhydon’tyoudoityourfuckingself’ was not a genuine ingredient in their product.