The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has passed an order imposing a penalty of Rs10 million on Proctor & Gamble Pakistan (Pvt.) Limited for deceptively advertising its product ‘Safeguard’ as ‘Pakistan’s No. 1 rated Anti-Bacterial Soap’ in violation of Section 10 of the Competition Act, 2010.
The order has been passed by a two-Member CCP bench comprising of the Chairperson Vadiyya Khalil and Member Ikram Ul Haq Qureshi. The CCP received a formal complaint from Reckitt Benckiser Pakistan Ltd., wherein it was alleged that Proctor & Gamble publicised its product “Safeguard” as “Pakistan’s No. 1 rated Anti-bacterial Soap” in violation of Section 10 of the Competition Act as it lacked reasonable basis to substantiate the claim. While referring to the CCP’s public notice published in leading newspapers warning companies to comply with the provisions of Section 10 of the Competition Act when advertising their products, Reckitt Benckiser alleged that the Proctor & Gamble disregarded the CCP’s warning by running an advertisement campaign for Safeguard, which was not only misleading consumers but also harming the business interests of its competitors.
An inquiry conducted by CCP concluded that the overall net impression of the Safeguard advertisement is that “Safeguard is Pakistan’s No. 1 Antibacterial Soap”, as the word ‘rated’ is written in a significantly smaller font. Moreover, without a clear and conspicuous disclosure, the advertisement campaign for Safeguard as “Pakistan’s No. 1 rated Anti-bacterial Soap” amounts to violation of Section 10 of the Competition Act. On recommendation of the inquiry report, a show cause notice was issued to Proctor & Gamble Pakistan.