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Complete washout: Wipro Safewash ad banned by court order

By , agencyfaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | November 27, 2007
An ad for Wipro Safewash Liquid has been banned after Godrej Consumer Products Ltd, makers of Ezee liquid detergent, filed a complaint in a Punjab court, claiming that Wipro's ad shows a direct comparison of Safewash with Ezee

Godrej & #BANNER1 & # Consumer Products Ltd (GCPL), makers of Ezee liquid detergent, has obtained an injunction in a Punjab court against a print campaign released by Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting (WCCL) for its liquid detergent brand, Wipro Safewash. According to GCPL, the ad in question shows a direct comparison of Wipro Safewash and Godrej Ezee, clearly touting the former as superior.

The controversial print ad.
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The print ad (released in publications 'Punjab Kesari' and 'Amar Ujala') shows the visual of a smiling mother and her baby in woollen clothing. The headline reads, "Wipro Safewash Hai Ezee Se Behtar (Wipro Safewash Is Better Than Ezee)". Ezee is not inscribed in the regular font; instead, the Ezee product logo is reproduced faithfully. Below the headline, a chart says Safewash is equipped with neem, while Ezee is not. The chart also says that a 500 ml pack of Safewash is 'effectively' priced at Rs 45, while Ezee is priced at Rs 66. (What the ad did not state that Ezee is so priced because of a promotional Nivea cream pack that accompanies it.) Next, the body copy of the advert clearly asks the consumer whether his liquid detergent possesses the power of neem.

Apart from the open use of the name, Ezee, Godrej also found the use of the exact logo to be an infringement/legal violation. Says a source at GCPL, "A comparison of ingredients and price in such an indiscriminate manner is what led the company to take action."

GCPL had filed a petition challenging the advertisement by WCCL on the grounds that the ad was "disparaging and misleading the consumer". At a Ludhiana district court, WCCL has been told to restrain from showing such advertising in the future in any form, direct or indirect. The court has passed an ad interim injunction order restraining Wipro from continuing the controversial advertisement.

According to the court directive, if Wipro has any objection on the ruling, then it can file an application on or before December 10, 2007.