Complaint: 17/375

Colgate-Palmolive PTY Ltd, Television

Details

Complainants
advertisers
Colgate-Palmolive Limited
Year
2017
Media
Television
Product
Health and Beauty
Clauses
Decision
Not Upheld
ASA Links
Website Listing
Decision Document

Document





COMPLAINT NUMBER
17/375
COMPLAINANT
D Scholfield
ADVERTISER
Colgate-Palmolive PTY Ltd
ADVERTISEMENT
Colgate-Palmolive PTY Ltd,
Television
DATE OF MEETING
14 November 2017
OUTCOME
Not Upheld


SUMMARY

The television advertisement for Colgate-Palmolive's "Bright Smiles Bright Futures"
programme showed a smal part of a vintage television advertisement which featured "Mrs
Marsh" and some school children. Mrs Marsh dips a piece of chalk into coloured water and
snaps it in half. She said, in part: "gets right into the enamel...like this liquid gets into this
chalk".

The Complainant said the advertisement was misleading because it suggested that "Fluoride
gets into teeth, which is factual y incorrect." The Complainant said the depiction of coloured
water penetrating chalk gave a misleading impression that fluoride can penetrate teeth.

The Advertiser provided substantiation to support the implied claim that fluoride ions can
penetrate tooth enamel which helps strengthen the tooth enamel.

The Complaints Board said the advertisement il ustrated that fluoride can penetrate tooth
enamel through the chalk demonstration which was supported by the information provided
by the Advertiser. The Complaints Board said the advertisement was not misleading and had
been prepared with a due sense of social responsibility to consumers and society. The
Complaints Board ruled the advertisement was not in breach of basic Principle 4 of the Code
of Ethics.

The Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Not Upheld

[No further action required]

Please note this headnote does not form part of the Decision.




COMPLAINTS BOARD DECISION
Preliminary matter: The Complaints Board noted the Advertiser had been asked to respond
to the complaint under the Code of Ethics and the Therapeutic and Health Advertising Code.
The Complaints Board said that the claims made in the advertisement did not meet the
definition of a therapeutic purpose in the Therapeutic and Health Advertising Code and
therefore, it did not apply to the advertisement before it.




17/375
The Chair directed the Complaints Board to consider the advertisement with reference to
Basic Principle 4 of the Code of Ethics which required the Complaints Board to consider
whether the advertisement had been prepared with a due sense of social responsibility to
consumers and society.

The Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Not Upheld.

The Complaint
The Complainant said the advertisement was misleading because it suggested that "Fluoride
gets into teeth, which is factual y incorrect." The Complainant said the depiction of coloured
water penetrating chalk gave a misleading impression that fluoride can penetrate teeth.

The response from Advertiser, Colgate-Palmolive Ltd
The Advertiser responded to the concerns raised by the Complainant, stating in part: "The
Chalk Demonstration is an obvious metaphor and easy-to-understand visual representation
of how fluoride penetrates the outer layers of tooth enamel to help strengthen the tooth
enamel.

...It is wel -accepted by the scientific and dental communities that fluoride penetrates and is
incorporated into the enamel, fortifying the enamel and making it more resistant to cavities
and acid attacks from the food and drinks we consume.

Structural y tooth enamel is composed of a crystal lattice of hydroxyapatite,
Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2). When fluoride in toothpastes, mouthwashes and gels comes in contact
with the tooth enamel, it reacts with calcium ions in the oral environment. This results in the
generation of calcium fluoride which is deposited on the enamel surface, namely:

Ca
3-
10(PO4)6(OH)2 + 20F- ? 10CaF2 + 6PO4 + 2OH-

Fluoride ions from this calcium fluoride penetrate the deeper layers of enamel, where the
fluoride replaces the hydroxide (OH-) ion groups (as shown in the chemical reaction above),
leading to the formation of stable fluoroapatite. The fluoride ions can penetrate the tooth
enamel up to 50 micrometres in depth. Fluoroapatite is more stable than hydroxyapatite,
making the enamel more resistant to acid attacks and cavities."

Response from Media, Commercial Approvals Bureau
The Commercial Approvals Bureau afforded the advertisement a G rating (General
Audiences) and deferred to the Advertiser to support the advertisement.

Complaints Board Discussion
The Complaints Board noted the concerns of the Complainant the chalk demonstration used
in the advertisement was factual y incorrect as it implied fluoride "gets into teeth" when their
view was that "fluoride cannot penetrate tooth enamel".

The Complaints Board noted the Advertiser provided substantiation to support the implied
claim that fluoride ions can penetrate tooth enamel which helps strengthen the tooth enamel.

The Complaints Board said the advertisement il ustrated that fluoride can penetrate tooth
enamel through the chalk demonstration which was supported by the information provided
by the Advertiser. The Complaints Board said the advertisement was not misleading and had
been prepared with a due sense of social responsibility to consumers and society. The
Complaints Board ruled the advertisement was not in breach of basic Principle 4 of the Code
of Ethics.

Accordingly, the Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Not Upheld.
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17/375

Decision: Complaint Not Upheld



DESCRIPTION OF ADVERTISEMENT

The television advertisement for Colgates "Bright Smiles Bright Futures" programme showed
a smal part of a vintage television advertisement which featured "Mrs Marsh" and some
school children. Mrs Marsh dips a piece of chalk into coloured water and snapping it in half.
She said, in part: "gets right into the enamel...like this liquid gets into this chalk".

COMPLAINT FROM D SCHOFIELD

The reasons that I found this programme breached the standards:
Colgate suggesting that Fluoride gets into the teeth which is factual y incorrect. Item
suggests that this is so by showing coloured water penetrating chalk. Whereas, fluoride
cannot penetrate tooth enamel.

CODE OF ETHICS

Basic Principle 4: Al advertisements should be prepared with a due sense of social
responsibility to consumers and to society.
THERAPEUTIC AND HEALTH AND ADVERTISING CODE

Principle 1: Therapeutic and Health advertisements shal observe a high standard of
social responsibility particularly as consumers often rely on such products, devices
and services for their health and wel being.

Principle 2: Advertisements shal be truthful, balanced and not misleading.
Advertisements shal not mislead or be likely to mislead, deceive or confuse
consumers, abuse their trust, exploit their lack of knowledge or without justifiable
reason, play on fear. This includes by implication, omission, ambiguity, exaggerated
or unrealistic claim or hyperbole.

RESPONSE FROM ADVERTISER, COLGATE-PALMOLIVE LIMITED

Thank you for your email and letter dated 19 October 2017, which refers to a complaint
received by the Advertising Standards Authority on 9 October 2017 from David Schofield
(Complaint).

Colgate-Palmolive Limited (Colgate) provides the fol owing information for the Board's
consideration. Thank you again for providing Colgate with an extension of time to respond
until today.

Description of relevant excerpt of advertisement
The advertisement opens by showing a vintage Colgate television commercial being shown
to children on a screen in a school classroom. The vintage television commercial features
"Mrs Marsh" and some school children. Mrs Marsh says "...gets right into the enamel..." and,
after dipping a piece of chalk into purple dye, "...like this liquid gets into this chalk". Mrs
Marsh then breaks the chalk into two to show the children that the very outer layers of the
chalk have been penetrated by the purple dye (Chalk Demonstration). The Chalk
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17/375
Demonstration is an obvious metaphor1 and easy-to-understand visual representation of
how fluoride penetrates the outer layers of tooth enamel to help strengthen the tooth enamel.
The advertisement then goes on to raise awareness about Colgate's Bright Smiles Bright
Futures program, which has helped over 2 mil ion New Zealand children learn the
importance of brushing twice daily.

Colgate comments
Colgate takes compliance with advertising laws and codes very seriously and has in place a
comprehensive and thorough review process, including detailed review of al advertisements
by its Legal, Regulatory, and Consumer Affairs teams.
Having considered this matter in detail, Colgate believes that the advertisement does not
breach the Advertising Code of Ethics (Code), Basic Principle 4 and/or Rule 2; or
Therapeutic and Health Advertising Code (THAC), Principles 1 and/or 2. These principles
are as fol ows:

Code
1. Basic Principle 4: Al advertisements should be prepared with a due sense of social
responsibility to consumers and to society.
2. Rule 2: Truthful Presentation - Advertisements should not contain any statement or
visual presentation or create an overal 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).

THAC
1. Principle 1: Social Responsibility - Therapeutic and Health advertisements shal observe
a high standard of social responsibility particularly as consumers often rely on such
products, devices and services for their health and wel being.
2. Principle 2: Truthful Presentation - Advertisements shal be truthful, balanced and not
misleading. Advertisements shal not mislead or be likely to mislead, deceive or confuse
consumers, abuse their trust, exploit their lack of knowledge or without justifiable reason,
play on fear. This includes by implication, omission, ambiguity, exaggerated or unrealistic
claim or hyperbole.

Basis of Complaint
The Complaint claims that the Chalk Demonstration misrepresents that fluoride penetrates
tooth enamel. Mr Schofield says "Colgate suggesting that Fluoride gets into the teeth, which
is factual y incorrect. Item suggests that this is so by showing coloured water penetrating
chalk. Whereas, fluoride cannot penetrate tooth enamel."

Fluoride and tooth enamel
With respect, the Complainant's claims that fluoride cannot penetrate tooth enamel are
inaccurate. It is wel -accepted by the scientific and dental communities that fluoride
penetrates and is incorporated into the enamel, fortifying the enamel and making it more
resistant to cavities and acid attacks from the food and drinks we consume2.


1 Mrs Marsh expressly makes it clear that the Chalk Demonstration is a metaphor by use of the word "like" in
her narrative.
2 Kali?anin, B.M.; Velimirovi?, D. S. and Pavlovi?, A.N., Chapter 11 Teeth-Saliva Migration of Fluoride
Ions and Health Implications from Fluorine: Chemistry, Analysis, Function and Effects, Preedy, V.
(Ed.); The Royal Society of Chemistry 2015, p 195.
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17/375
Structural y tooth enamel is composed of a crystal lattice of hydroxyapatite,
Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2)3. When fluoride in toothpastes, mouthwashes and gels comes in contact
with the tooth enamel, it reacts with calcium ions in the oral environment. This results in the
generation of calcium fluoride which is deposited on the enamel surface4, namely:

Ca
3-
10(PO4)6(OH)2 + 20F- ? 10CaF2 + 6PO4 + 2OH-

Fluoride ions from this calcium fluoride penetrate the deeper layers of enamel, where the
fluoride replaces the hydroxide (OH-) ion groups (as shown in the chemical reaction above),
leading to the formation of stable fluoroapatite5. The fluoride ions can penetrate the tooth
enamel up to 50 micrometres in depth6. Fluoroapatite is more stable than hydroxyapatite,
making the enamel more resistant to acid attacks and cavities7.

Accordingly the Chalk Demonstration and representation that fluoride penetrates tooth
enamel are accurate and not misleading. Colgate submits that there has been no breach of
the Advertising Code of Ethics (Code), Basic Principle 4 and/or Rule 2; or Therapeutic and
Health Advertising Code (THAC).

Advertising Agency and Media Buyer
The advertising agency and media buyer is Level 5, Hope Gibbons Building. 7-11 Dixon
Road, Wel ington.
We trust that the above information addresses al of the matters raised in the Complaint and
wil assist the Board in its determination. However, please do not hesitate to contact me
should you require further information or clarification.


RESPONSE FROM MEDIA, -COMMERCIAL APPROVALS BUREAU

COLGATE TELEVISION ADVERTISEMENT
COMPLAINT: 17/375
KEY: SCPO0712T1 30N
RATING: G

We have been asked to respond to this complaint under the fol owing codes:
Code of Ethics - Basic Principle 4, Rule 2;
Therapeutic and Health Advertising Code 1 and 2;

CAB approved this Colgate commercial on 07/07/17 with a G classification. Under CAB's
internal procedures, the commercial is categorised as a Cosmetics/Toiletries advertisement.

The complainant's description of the ad claims that Colgate suggests, "fluoride gets into
teeth." This claim is not explicated within the advertisement itself, and may only be inferred
from the opening stock footage.

With regards to the composition and efficacy of the Colgate product, CAB will defer to the
advertiser for their own detailed response.


3 Ibid, p 188.
4 Ibid, p 195.
5 Ibid, p 195.
6 Ibid, p 195; and Mellberg JR, Caries Research; 17 (suppl 1); 102-118,1983.
7 Kali?anin, B.M., op cit, p 195.
5