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A watchdog group says Gillette’s “Boston made” ad campaign is deceptive

A watchdog group says Gillette’s “Boston made” ad campaign is deceptive
[Photo: courtesy of Gillette]

Truthinadvertising.org (TINA.org) has big problems with a recent Gillette national ad campaign. The company, in both commercials and on social media posts, highlighted its Boston headquarters, alluding to the fact that its products are made there. The problem is, Gillette’s products are not predominately made in the United States, according to TINA.org, and that means the company may be deceptively advertising. The activist group says it contacted Gillette about the campaign, and the company reportedly took down many of its social media posts. It did not, however, pull its TV commercials.

Because of this, TINA.org has filed a complaint with the FTC. It turns out the federal agency has very strict standards for when companies can and cannot claim their products are made in this country. Specifically, the statement has to be true; The FTC requires that “a product advertised as Made in USA be ‘all or virtually all’ made in the U.S.” TINA.org notes that Gillette makes it products in numerous other countries, including China, Mexico, Poland, Canada, and Brazil.

Unless Gillette acts quickly, the FTC will now have to decide whether the commercials imply that Gillette is making a “Made in the U.S.” claim. Though the commercials still up don’t say it, the videos focuses on its employees in its Boston headquarters, which TINA.org believes can be read as making an “America made” assertion. The watchdog group says Gillette pledged to change the copy of the commercials, but this has yet to happen.

Fast Company reached out to Gillette to comment. I’ll update this post if I hear back. You can read TINA.org’s post about the complaint here.

Update: A Gillette spokesperson provided Fast Company with this comment:

Gillette has been a Boston based company for over 115 years – not just producing billions of some of our best blades every year, but also giving back and engaging with the local community. We are proud of this very unique history, and that is the central message that is reflected in our campaign which highlights our longstanding heritage and the well over 1,000 employees at our World Shaving Headquarters here in the heart of Boston; there is nothing wrong with our campaign.

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