The maker of Protex, Colgate-Palmolive, has failed to convince the Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) that its competitor Lifebuoy should be banned from using the phrase ‘Deep Clean’ on its soaps reports Business Insider.

The two companies have something of a history before the ARB, with fights about whether Lifebuoy really guards against germs, and whether the flaxseed oil in Protex is a natural ingredient.

Early this year, Lifebuoy owner Unilever launched a ‘Deep Clean’ variant, an evolution from what was previously marketed as ‘Activated Charcoal with Mint’.

‘[Protex] submits that it has never used 'Deep Clean' descriptively, and as a result of its long-standing, exclusive and extensive use and promotion, it has built up a considerable reputation and advertising goodwill in the Deep Clean property in connection to hygiene soap,’ it told the regulator.

‘Deep Clean is unique to, and exclusively associated’ with Colgate.

It also pointed to what it said was clear evidence the theft of its phrase had worked, with Protex seeing a market share jump from 0.5% to 2% in a matter of months.

But soaps have been described as offering a ‘Deep Clean’ in SA before, Lifebuoy countered – and it is a descriptive phrase nobody can claim.

The ARB agreed.

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