Viewers flush out truth over loo roll

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The Independent Online
A TEAM of investigators were sent out to buy lavatory rolls to test the accuracy of a television commercial for quilted paper. As a result, complaints that the advertisement made the paper look more quilted than it is have been upheld and the commercial was reshot. The new version appeared this week.

Four viewers had complained that while the original Kleenex advertisement showed a heavily quilted paper, all plump and squeezy, 'the product available in the shops only revealed signs of quilting on fairly close examination'. Mike Wilson, Kleenex account director at Reay Keating Hamer agency, said the paper had been genuine but was straight from the factory and had not been packed - a process that tends to flatten.

The Independent Television Commission reminded the agency that it should show goods in the state consumers buy them, 'although products may be shown at their best, this does not justify untypical presentation'.

Mr Wilson said that the quilting seemed pronounced on screen because strong lighting enhanced the three-dimensional effect. The sequence was reshot with lower lighting at a cost of several thousand pounds. The ITC accepted it only grudgingly.

Vicious competition in the pounds 600m lavatory paper market threw up another complaint to the ITC last month. Four viewers were unhappy about the advertisement for the market leader, Andrex, that featured a boy and a puppy going from shop to shop to find a book - a pastiche of the 'J R Hartley' commercial for Yellow Pages.

Protesters said it was dangerous for children to be out without an adult, and one added the dog should have been on a lead. The ITC agreed, and the advertisement has been discontinued.

Both Andrex and Kleenex spend about pounds 9m annually on advertising. Andrex claims nearly 25 per cent of all lavatory paper sales. Kleenex says it had 14 per cent, with the quilted paper capturing more than 2 per cent since its autumn launch.