The Bombay High Court has granted an ad-interim ex-parte injunction to Hindustan Unilever (HUL) after the FMCG brand filed a suit against Sebamed over a recent campaign.
The ads, which were released on January 7
, claimed that while Sebamed's cleansing bar had the perfect pH for sensitive skin, HUL's Dove, Lux and Pears had a higher pH which harmed sensitive skin. Lux and Pears were compared to Rin, a detergent bar marketed by HUL.
HUL swiftly responded to Sebamed's campaign with a print ad to show Dove is safe to use. The FMCG giant also pursued legal action to prevent the ad from running.
The Bombay High Court today (January 12) passed an injunction order against Sebamed and its advertising agencies, banning it from running the campaign across any media channels. The matter will now come up on January 14.
According to a statement by HUL, the court recorded the submissions of HUL that the advertisement campaign denigrates its brands and products, does not take into account the full formulations of the products in question, and misleads consumers only on the basis of pH.
The court order further stated that the advertisement’s purpose was not to promote a product by Sebamed but to discourage the consumer from purchasing HUL’s products, which is not permissible.
Dev Bajpai, executive director, legal and corporate affairs, HUL, said the Sebamed ad was "misleading consumers on soap efficacy".
"HUL’s brands are time-tested and have always delivered on the promise they have made to their consumers. In the initial days of the Covid pandemic, HUL, as a responsible advertiser, had communicated to the masses that one could wash their hands with any soap as handwashing with soap is the first line of defence against Coronavirus. However, Sebamed’s advertisement in question is misleading consumers on soap efficacy during these difficult times, and further denigrating and disparaging well-known brands like Lux, Dove, Pears and Rin."
At the time of writing this story, Sebamed's films were still running on YouTube.