ASA rejects misleading product packaging claim in Beiersdorf case

ASA rejects misleading product packaging claim in Beiersdorf case

The Advertising Standards Agency has rejected a claim that the packaging on the product information page for Nivea Men Sensitive Moisturiser was misleading, concluding that the claim of ‘0% alcohol* – no burning*’ would not misinform consumers.

The ruling follows a complaint that had been lodged stating that the inclusion of cetearyl alcohol in the product formulation challenged whether the claim “0% alcohol” was correct.

Beiersdorf explained that in chemistry the word alcohol was used for a ‘broad variety of organic compounds in which the hydroxyl functional group (-OH) was bound to a carbon (-C)’, pointing out that there were more than 700 different substances that belonged to ‘alcohol group’ listed on the European Commission database for information on cosmetic substances and ingredients.

It continued that while ethyl alcohol could cause a feeling of stinging or burning on the skin, redness or mild irritation. However, the type of alcohol used within the Nivea Men Sensitive Agency Moisturiser was cetearyl alcohol, a fatty alcohol and solid substance which was used as an emulsifier to stabilise an emulsion.

In conclusion the ASA noted the claim as ‘Not Upheld’, stating, “We understood that cetearyl alcohol, whilst also an alcohol compound, had different properties to ethyl alcohol and different effects on the skin.
“We considered that those to whom the ad was directed would interpret the “0% alcohol” claim, in the context in which it appeared, to mean the product did not contain the type of alcohol that they would associate with causing a reaction or burning feeling in sensitive or easily irritated skin (i.e. ethyl alcohol). We noted that the product did not contain ethyl alcohol and therefore concluded that the claim “0% alcohol” was not misleading.”