Meeting 10 June 2008
Complainant: J. West – The Association of Beauty Therapists NZ INC
Advertisement: Procter & Gamble Distributing New Zealand
Complaint: The Oil of Olay television advertisements (Key Nos: PGU 1007 and PGU
992) promoted the product Olay Total Effects.
One advertisement is presented by Melinda Kunzli who addresses the viewer with:
“As a beauty therapist, I know the value of a professional spa treatment. Could I really
replace it with one product…. I took the Total Effects challenge and I was really
surprised, it worked really as well as a professional spa treatment…It’s no secret what
we professionals will be using now. …”
The tagline said: “Olay Total Effects – Love the skin you’re in.”
In the other advertisement a client, Simone McAulley, addresses the viewer with:
“I always thought the best thing for my skin was regular visits to my beauty therapist.
Well, then I found out my beauty therapist was trying Total Effects. I though, hey,
she’s the expert. It must be worth trying. Honestly, I didn’t expect a result as good as a
professional spa treatment. Turns out I was wrong. My skin has never looked better
and it’s all down to my little beauty therapist right here.” At this point Simone holds up
a sample of the Total Effects product, and the advertisement ends with the tagline:
“Olay Total Effects – Love the skin you’re in.”
Complainant, J. West of The Association of Beauty Therapists NZ INC, said:
“We wish to make a formal complaint about advertisements that have been screening
on TV One for Oil of Olay products. One of these advertisements is presented by a
woman who introduces herself as a Beauty Therapist and goes on to endorse the
product and to claim that it is used by Beauty Therapists in their clinics. They have
since been screening another advertisement making similar claims about their
products which are simply not true. These advertisements lead you to believe that the
services of a Beauty Therapist are not required when the products are used.
We view these advertisements as false advertising and very damaging to the
professionalism of our industry. Firstly, we do not use these products in our clinics as
we use and recommend `Professional Only' products in New Zealand. Secondly, it is a
false claim to suggest that their products replace the expertise of the Beauty Therapist.
Our Association has 600 members, all of which abide by our Code of Practice and
Code of Ethics to maintain a high standard of professional conduct to protect members
of the public.
I find these advertisements offensive to our members and misleading to the public.”
The Chairman ruled that the following provisions were relevant:
Code of Ethics:
Basic Principle 4: All advertisements should be prepared with a due sense of social
responsibility to consumers and to society.
Rule 2: Truthful Presentation - Advertisements should not contain any statement or
visual presentation or create an overall impression which directly or by implication,
omission, ambiguity or exaggerated claim is misleading or deceptive, is likely to
deceive or mislead the consumer, makes false and misleading representation, abuses
the trust of the consumer or exploits his/her lack of experience or knowledge. (Obvious
hyperbole, identifiable as such, is not considered to be misleading).
Code for Comparative Advertising
a. Comparative advertising should be factual and informative and should offer a
product or service on its positive merits. The intent and connotation of the
advertisement should be to inform and not to discredit, disparage or attack
competitors, competing products or services directly or by implication.
d. Comparative claims should be unambiguous and clearly understandable so that
there is no likelihood of the consumer being misled as a result of the comparison.
e. The identification should be for honest comparison purposes and not simply to
upgrade by association.
The Advertiser, Procter and Gamble Distributing New Zealand, said:
1 We refer to your letter … attaching correspondence from J. West of the
Association of Beauty Therapists NZ Inc.
2 Thank you for allowing extra time in which to make a full response. In future, it
would be helpful (to ensure a timely response) if you could please address all
correspondence for Procter & Gamble Distributing New Zealand to:
Corporate Counsel …
The Olay Total Effects advertisement
3 The television advertisement for Procter & Gamble's anti-aging skin care product,
`Olay Total Effects', features Ms Melinda Kunzli who is a practising beauty
therapist in Sydney, Australia. Ms Kunzli provides her personal endorsement to
the product, using her experience as a professional beauty therapist.
4 Procter & Gamble does not make use of such endorsement lightly, and has
taken steps to ensure the statements made are fair, and are from somebody of
Professional qualifications of Ms Melinda Kunzli
5 In addition to her years of work experience as a practising beauty therapist, Ms
Kunzli holds the following professional qualifications:
5.1 diploma of personal services in beauty therapy from the Strand College
of Beauty Therapy, Sydney, Australia;
5.2 diploma in physiatrist from the International Therapy Examination
Council, England; and
5.3 aestheticienne diploma from the International Therapy Examination
6 Please let us know if you would like copies of Ms Kunzli's accreditations and
qualification documents (they are in her maiden name of Melinda Kennings).
7 Ms Kunzli has independently confirmed to Procter & Gamble that in her opinion
the statements in the advertisement are true, and reflect her own thoughts and
beliefs about her experience with the `Olay Total Effects' product. In our view, It
is clearly her own personal opinion (informed by experience as a qualified
professional) that is being provided in the advertisement.
8 While Ms Kunzli is an Australian-based professional, the Authority will appreciate
that many television advertisements currently screening in New Zealand (as with
this one) are produced for and shown in the Australia/New Zealand market as a
whole. We do not believe there is any material distinction between the nature of
consumers in Australia and New Zealand for these purposes.
Independent tests conducted
9 As well as Ms Kunzli's professional opinion, in 2007 Procter & Gamble
commissioned Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS), a leading independent market
research agency, to conduct a study which evaluated consumers' views of the
relative effectiveness of Olay Total Effects and a professional spa treatment
110 The TNS study measured seven anti-aging treatment benefits which were
tested by the consumer reactions of a sample of 200 women in Thailand aged
between 20-45 years. The results and degree of satisfaction reported by those
women confirmed comparable results between Olay Total Effects and a
professional spa treatment.
Response to complaint made
11 Procter & Gamble takes its advertising responsibilities seriously, and does not
believe that Basic Principle 4 and Rule 2 of the ASA Code of Ethics or Guidelines
(a), (d) and (e) of the ASA Code for Comparative Advertising have been
12 It is not misleading for Melinda Kunzli, an independent practising beauty
therapist, to make comments in relation to her own personal experience with
both professional spa treatments and Olay Total Effects. Procter & Gamble also
engaged independent research by TNS to confirm whether a broader group of
consumers also agreed with the opinion.
13 More importantly perhaps, the advertisement offers the Olay product on its
positive merits based on its skin-aging benefits. The intent and connotation of the
advertisement is not to discredit, disparage or attack beauty therapist products or
services. There is no manner or tone of voice that degrades those services.
14 The advertisement does not refer to the Association of Beauty Therapists (NZ)
Inc or any beauty therapist trade body. It appears that J. West believes the
advertisement denigrates professional spa treatments and service offered by the
association's members. That was not the intention, and we do not believe that is
how the advertisement would appear to consumers. The advertisement would
not suggest to a reasonable viewer that all beauty therapists hold the views of Ms
Kunzli, but equally it is true that some well qualified beauty therapists, such as
Ms Kunzli, may use the product and hold the view mentioned.
15 Three specific points in J. West's letter require comment:
15.1 The letter states that the advertisement claims Olay Total Effects "is
used by beauty therapists in their clinics". Nothing in the advertisement
makes that statement.
15.2 The letter states that the advertisement suggests that the products
"replace the expertise of the beauty therapist". Nothing in the
advertisement makes that claim. We do not believe reasonable
consumers would take from the advertisement that the product purports
to offer the full range of services and treatments available from visiting a
beauty therapist. We recognise that consumers may visit a day spa for
a number of reasons (such as personal attention, massage, and
welcoming clinic/spa environment) that are unrelated to the specific
type of product used. We respect the quality of those services offered
by J. West's association members, and the advertisement could not
reasonably be taken to detract from those personalised services.
15.3 The letter says that members of the Association of Beauty Therapists
(NZ) Inc use and recommend "professional only" products in their
clinics. There is no evidence that Procter & Gamble is aware of to
suggest "professional only" products are substantively better than other
products such as Olay. Indeed, some "professional only product" can
be purchased by consumers over-the-counter at clinics.
16 While we respectfully disagree with J. West's views, we thank you for bringing
this matter to our attention. Procter & Gamble is always concerned if a viewer
appears to be upset by any advertisement of ours and we take it seriously.
Therefore we advise that the airing of this advertisement for Olay Total Effects is
coming to an end on 31 May 2008 and will be taken off air at that time and will not
be shown again in New Zealand in its present form.
17 As per your request, we advise that the advertising agency involved was Saatchi
& Saatchi Australia Pty Limited, 70 George Street, The Rocks, Sydney, NSW
2000, Australia. We have made them aware of the complaint received by the
18 If you need any further information please contact me directly as outlined in
paragraph 2 of this letter.
1 TNS measured Olay Total Effects and professional spa treatments against the following
criteria: 1.gives smooth and even skin texture; 2. minimises appearance of fine lines; 3.
makes skin look firmer; 4. protecting the skin with anti-oxidants; 5. evens skin tone; 6.
reduces dark spots/age spots; and 7, reduces appearance of wrinkles.”
The Agency, Saatchi and Saatchi, said:
“The Saatchi & Saatchi team have discussed the formal complaint from J. West, on
behalf of the Association of Beauty Therapists of NZ Inc, with our client Procter &
We have seen and endorse Procter & Gamble's response to the Advertising Standards
Authority and have nothing further to add.”
Television Commercial Approvals Bureau (TVCAB) said on behalf of the media:
“TVCAB has been asked to respond to this complaint under the Code of Ethics
? Basic Principle 4 - social responsibility;
? Rule 2 - truthful presentation.
Code for Comparative Advertising
? Guideline (a) - factual and informative;
? Guideline (b) - not misleading;
? Guideline (e) - honesty for comparison purposes.
The complainant believes the commercials damage the professionalism of the beauty
industry in the product recommendations and that they suggest the product replaces
the expertise of therapists.
Both these commercials are opinions - in one case that of a beauty therapist Melinda
Kunzli, and the other a client Simone McAulley who discovers her therapist
recommends the use of Oil of Olay Total Effects products. These commercials are certified by the Asia-Pacific Centre for Skin Aging (APCSA) and based on studies conducted by TNS Thailand (May '07) among women aged 25-40. The APCSA formed in 2007 brings together a group of distinguished dermatologists from the Asia-Pacific region to engage in research. (see attached)
Just as the complainant's Association uses and endorses certain brands of cosmetics in their own workplaces the therapists in these particular commercials prefer to use Procter & Gamble Oil of Olay products. There are several commercials presently playing on television where dermatologists and beauty therapists align themselves to a particular cosmetic brand - it is, after all, one of the more competitive industries in the world. In major department stores and chemists the consumer has a free choice of which skin treatments or makeup range they prefer to purchase according to their own personal circumstances. Many women take into account such factors as brand allegiance, price, absence of ingredients refined from petroleum, non use of animals in testing while others favour the evergrowing certified organic ranges or simply aspire to look like the model promoting the range. In a similar vein it is normal for many women to check out which skin care range a beauty therapist uses before booking in for a treatment.
Most women desire the look of perfection in their skin. Skin which is clear, radiant, free of blemishes, with no sign of sun damage and dullness. When choosing skin care products this is the outcome they have in mind. These commercials do not denigrate the beauty industry they merely provide the opinion, views of a couple of individuals to encourage some of those women to perhaps try the Oil of Olay product. That surely is the aim of all advertising.
It should be noted that these commercials have played in Australia without complaint from beauty therapists in that country.
TVCAB does not believe the complaint should be upheld.”
The Complaints Board perused the relevant correspondence and viewed the television advertisements. It noted the complainant, J. West of The Association of Beauty Therapists NZ INC, was of the view that the advertisements led the viewer to “believe that the services of a Beauty Therapist are not required when the products are used”, and were thereby misleading.
The Complainant also believed that the advertisements gave the impression that all Beauty Therapists used the Oil of Olay products in their clinics.
The Chairman directed the Complaints Board to consider the complaint with reference to the Code of Ethics, Basic Principle 4 and Rule 2. Also, the Code for Comparative Advertising, Guidelines (a), (d) and (e).
Turning to the advertisements before it the Complaints Board was satisfied that the endorsements for the product advertised were clearly expressed as being the opinions
of the presenters, rather than as absolute claims, and this would be evident to the consumer.
As such, the Complaints Board said the advertisements did not contain any statement or visual presentation or create an overall impression which directly or by implication, was likely to mislead the consumer, as suggested by the Complainant. Accordingly, the Complaints Board ruled that the advertisements were not in breach of Rule 2 of the Code of Ethics.
In any event, the Complaints Board noted that the advertiser had commissioned independent market research from Taylor Nelson Sofres, the results of which confirmed comparable results from consumers between the product Olay Total Effects and a professional spa treatment.
In the Complaints Board’s view a due sense of social responsibility to consumers had
been employed in the preparation of the advertisements, and the claims made therein, meeting the requirements of Basic Principle 4 of the Code of Ethics.
Furthermore, the presenter, beauty spa client Simone McAulley, claimed that in her opinion the product “was as good as a professional spa treatment”, not better than.
This in the Complaints Board’s view, together with all other content in the
advertisements, did not reach the threshold to be said to discredit a competing product or service, and as such, the advertisement met the requirements of Guideline (a) of the Code for Comparative Advertising.
The Complaints Board was also of the view that the comparative claims were unambiguous and clearly understandable so that there was no likelihood of the consumer being misled as a result of the comparison. As such the Complaints Board ruled that the advertisements were not in breach of Guideline (d) of the Code for Comparative Advertising.
Furthermore, the Complaints Board said the advertisements complied with the requirements of Guideline (e) of the Code for Comparative Advertising as, in its view, the identification was for honest comparison purposes and not simply to upgrade by association.
Having made the above observations the Complaints Board ruled to not uphold the complaint.
Decision: Complaint Not Upheld