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Patanjali told to stop airing ad mocking RB and HUL’s soap brands

Reckitt Benckise and HUL have secured ‘ad-interim injunctions’ against Patanjali’s television commercial from the Delhi and Bombay high courts. The ad that was airing since September 2 has been taken off air till the next hearing

Reckitt Benckiser (RB) and Hindustan Unilever (HUL) have secured ‘ad-interim injunction’ against Patanjali’s television commercial promoting its bath soap. The advertisement while talking about Patanjali’s ayurvedic product belittles RB’s Dettol soap and HUL’s soap brands.

On September 4, HUL and RB approached the Bombay High Court and Delhi High Court, seeking an injunction to what they said was a disparaging advertisement by Patanjali Ayurved.

The high court in separate orders ordered Patanjali to stop airing the advertisement till the next date of hearing, September 18, 2017.

Confirming the development, RB’s spokesperson, said, “We have succeeded in getting ad interim injunction against Patanjali’s television commercial/ advertisement from the High Court of Delhi. We would not like to make any further comments as the matter is sub-judice.”

The official statement from HUL stated, “We confirm that the Bombay High Court has granted ad-interim injunction on the advertisement that was being aired by Patanjali Ayurved Limited. Since the matter is sub-judice, we will not be able to offer any further comments.”

Patanjali’s advertisement took a dig at HUL’s brands such as Lux, Pears, Lifebuoy and Dove and RB’s Dettol, indirectly telling consumers to reject ‘chemical-based soaps’ and adopt natural ones. The ad was on air from September 2 but was pulled out of TV channels and the web after the court’s order.

When reached out to SK Tijarawala, spokesperson, Patanjali, he said, “The decision is with the court and the matter is sub-judice. So, I can only say Satyamev Jayate. The truth will only win. We’ll file our reply in the court.”

Indirectly taking a dig at HUL brand Lux, the Patanjali soap advertisement said, ‘Filmstars ke chemical bhare sabun na lagao (Don't use chemical-based soaps of film stars)’. The advertisement also referred to HUL's other soap brands such as Pears – 'Tears badhaye fears (Tears increase your fears)’ and Lifebuoy with ‘Lifejoy na lao near(Don't bring Lifejoy near you)’.

Patanjali is disrupting the market share of the top FMCG companies by selling their products, saying they are natural and ayurvedic. Ramdev’s company has also been very rigorous on the advertising front and has always indirectly or directly attacked rival toothpaste, hair oil, edible oil and soap brands.

It seems major market players are not liking the way Ramdev’s company is disrupting the market share and so Patanjali has never been a stranger to showdowns ever since it joined the brand wagon.

Last year, Patanjali was slapped a fine of Rs 11 lakh by a city court on charges of misbranding and misrepresentation of its products. In August 2016, Patanjali also took ASCI (Advertising Standard Council of India) to court; Baba Ramdev filed a defamation suit and notice of motion against ASCI for getting a series of notices on their advertisements from the regulatory body. Before that, Dabur had earlier complained to ASCI about Patanjali’s advertisement claims on honey, which it thinks is 'misleading' and has 'unsubstantiated' claims on purity, reports said.

Much before that, in March 2016, Emami took Patanjali to court, claiming that Patanjali’s Kesh Kanti is a copy of Emami’s trademarked Kesh King in terms of packaging and even the font on the packaging. The court had then prima facie found infringement of copyright and asked Patanjali to stop sales of Kesh Kanti for 10 weeks.

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