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Dallas Company Absorbed In Paper Towel Ad Fight

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A roll of Scott brand paper towels sits on a counter along with other Kimberly-Clark products. (credit: AP Photo)

A roll of Scott brand paper towels sits on a counter along with other Kimberly-Clark products. (credit: AP Photo)

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CINCINNATI (AP) – Procter & Gamble Co. has picked up backing for its challenges to paper towel advertising by Kimberly-Clark Corp.

The advertising industry’s self-regulatory body recommends changes in commercials for Viva and Scott paper towels that have possibly misleading messages about absorbency and thickness compared to P&G’s Bounty.

The National Advertising Division Council of Better Business Bureaus investigated the separate campaigns after challenges by Cincinnati-based consumer products maker P&G.

Dallas-based Kimberly-Clark says it disagrees with the findings, but will abide by the recommendations. The major paper towel competitors have been faced additional pressure from shoppers trading down to cheaper store and generic brands during the weak economy.

In one challenged ad, “Sandy” has a team ready to use a giant roll of Viva towels to ram into a consumer’s home. Sandy holds up a self-help book and urges her to “Quit the Quilt,” referring to Bounty’s quilted towels and claiming they have more air, not thickness. The consumer then uses a Viva towel on a spill and is convinced.

The ad council, which studied consumer perceptions of the commercial, found that it communicates “that the use of quilted towels is a bad habit that should be broken by use of Viva towels, which provide more towel for the money.” The body said the ad messages that Viva is thicker or absorbs better aren’t supported.

Kimberly-Clark replied that the ads “merely encourage consumers, who are used to buying quilted towels, to consider trying Viva, a non-quilted alternative with important design and performance differences.”

The ad body also recommended changes to a commercial showing side-by-side cleanups after a children’s party that claims Scott towels “soak up everyday spills even faster than Bounty towels,” mainly because the ad depicts a five-minute absorption rather than immediate soaking up of the spill.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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