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LEVER BROTHERS AIM, CLOSE-UP ANTI-TARTAR EFFICACY CLAIMS UPHELD

Executive Summary

LEVER BROTHERS AIM, CLOSE-UP ANTI-TARTAR EFFICACY CLAIMS UPHELD by the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus on the basis of clinical data received from Lever Brothers' affiliate Chese-Pond's and challenger Colgate-Palmolive. Colgate instigated the NAD review of Anti-Tartar Aim and Tartar Control Close-Up by submitting data to the watchdog agency challenging the effectiveness of zinc citrate, the anti-tartar ingredient in both toothpastes, according to the Feb. 15 NAD Case Report. The non-comparative claims Colgate was questioning appeared in separate print ads stating: "Aim introduces two toothpastes. Two toothpastes in one. Fights tartar while it still fights cavities." The ad for Close-Up read: "So Close-Up developed a unique patented tartar control paste, then carefully tested it to prove that new Close-Up Tartar Control Paste actually reduces the incidence of tartar." Referring to the results of a study supplied by Colgate, NAD concluded that its "failure to demonstrate a difference" between the tartar fighting abilities of the Aim and Close-Up zinc citrate formulas and a placebo "is not conclusive proof that no difference exists." The Colgate data included a clinical comparison of Colgate Tartar Control Toothpaste's anti-calculus ingredient, soluble pyrophosphates; Aim and Close-Up's zinc citrate ingredient; and a placebo. The Colgate formula was found to be more effective than a placebo by 50.8% compared to the Chese-Pond's formula, which was only 10.7% more effective at a 95% confidence level. The study results first appeared in the July/August issue of Clinical Preventive Dentistry, coinciding with the launch of both the Aim and Close-Up anti-tartar formulas. The study was conducted by the Forsyth Dental Center in Boston and sponsored in part by Colgate. In addition to citing Colgate's nonconclusive proof, the watchdog agency referred to the "substantial review of literature" provided by Chese-Pond's as a factor in agreeing that the non-comparative claims for anti-tartar efficacy were substantiated. Chese-Pond's defended its "cosmetic" claims by providing a study that it maintained was conducted on a much larger scale than the Colgate test, and was therefore more accurate. The three-year double-blind study of "large groups of school children" in Scotland established a reduction in tartar at the 99% confidence level, according to the Case Report. Colgate had criticized the study as an "inappropriate basis" for anti-tartar claims. The NAD inquiry marked the second time in eight months that advertising claims for a Chese-Pond's toothpaste have come under scrutiny. Superiority claims for Extra Strength Aim's cavity preventing abilities compared to Crest and Colgate were reviewed by NAD in July. In that case, Chese-Pond's agreed to take NAD's concern into account for future ads.

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