Toothpaste brand's photoshopped ad earns $1.3m fine

Crest toothpaste.

BEIJING - A well-known toothpaste brand owned by Procter & Gamble has been fined 6.03 million yuan (S$1.3 million) for a television commercial that made false claims, the biggest amount that China has imposed for false advertising.

News website quoted the Shanghai Administration for Industry and Commerce as saying yesterday that Crest exaggerated the whitening effect of one of its products, by photoshopping the advertisement.

The commercial features Taiwan TV entertainer Dee Hsu, better known as Little S, who grins in front of the camera to show the whitening effect of the product.

Crest also claims in the advertisement that teeth will turn whiter in just one day.

Miao Jun, a sub-director of the Shanghai administration, was quoted as saying that the regulator enforced the advertisement law of China by slapping the fine, calculated based on a proportion of the advertisement fee.

He said Photoshop technology can be used in advertisements but not on the main subject. Mr Miao gave an example of a car advertisement, in which the landscape is allowed to be photoshopped to present a bluer sky or whiter clouds.

"But in the consumer goods sector, one must pay the price if making a false (claim) on the main subject," he added.

Along with Crest, the Shanghai administration on Monday revealed the names of a number of other brands involved in false advertising, including liquor made by Wuliangye and juice by Tahitian Noni.

Last year, the Shanghai administration cracked down on a total of 2,716 illegal advertisements, including 1,906 false ones. A total of 74.77 million yuan in fines was imposed, its figures showed.

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