Scotts fail with claim that Westland Safelawn advertising was misleading
The Advertising Standards Authority has thrown out a complaint by the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, who challenged a Westland Horticulture advertising claim that award-winning Safelawn was “safe to use around children and pets”
The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, challenged whether:
the safety claims “Safe to use around children and pets”, “Safe for children & pets” and “This product is safe for children and pets, however it is good practice to store out of reach in a dry, frost-free place” were misleading and could be substantiated; and
the comparative claims “the safer way to feed your lawn” and “Safety compared to lawn weed & moss killer fertilisers that contain pesticides” were misleading and could be substantiated.
But the ASA ruled that SafeLawn had substantiated the claims and that the ads were not misleading.
In not upholding Scotts' challenge, the ASA ruled:
The ASA considered that consumers would understand the claims “Safe to use around children and pets”, “Safe for children & pets” and “This product is safe for children and pets…” to mean that using the product as directed would not cause harm to people or animals. We considered that, as consumers were likely to use the product on their lawns, the advertiser needed to provide evidence that demonstrated the product would not cause physiological harm to children or animals, if children or animals came into contact with it on lawns applied with the product.
We further considered that consumers would understand the claims “the safer way to feed your lawn” and “Safety compared to lawn weed & moss killer fertilisers that contain pesticides” to mean that the product was safer to use than lawn weed & moss killer fertilisers that contained pesticides, when used as directed. We considered that consumers would understand the term safer, in this context, to mean less harmful to human health than comparable products that contained pesticides. We considered, therefore, that the evidence needed to compare the safety of the product with other comparable products that contained pesticides and demonstrate that it was safer to human health.
We noted that testing was carried out on the three active components of SafeLawn and was compared with two common comparable household products which contained pesticides. The testing concluded that there was no evidence available that demonstrated the product caused skin irritation compared to one of the comparable products that did not carry a classification for skin irritation and another comparable product that carried a classification for skin irritation. The product did not exhibit the physical characteristics to cause eye irritation compared to the same two comparable products that did carry classifications for eye irritation, and the product was not classified for mammalian toxicity compared to the same two comparable products which carried classifications for toxicity. We considered the testing, undertaken by an independent testing facility in line with the CPL and standard toxicity testing for comparable pesticide containing products, was sufficiently robust as that reflected in the manner in which children or animals may come into contact with the product when used as directed.
We therefore considered that SafeLawn had substantiated the claims and that the ads were not misleading.