Agricultural chemical company Orion Crop Protection has successfully complained that one of its branded weedkillers has been hurt by comparative advertising used by rival Nufarm NZ
But the victory -- in which a panel put together by the Advertising Standards Authority ruled that Nufarm advertising for its Roundup Transorb attacked and disparaged Orion's GForce Max -- has come late in the day for Orion.
The panel today noted that Nufram had said its radio and television advertisements were due to end their run in three days, and it only had 1000 brochures for the product left over.
Both herbicides are unusual in having a 54 percent content of the active ingredient, glyphosate. Orion introduced its version in May 2005, and Nufarm then brought out its own, which had been registered two years before but not sold.
The panel said farmers would have been likely to have been misled by Nufarm's advertisements, which:
* made ambiguous comparisons, such as "up to 30 percent more effective";
* the content of the comparison appeared to have been chosen to give Transorb an artificial advantage;
* the comparative tests were conducted by a parent company, Monsanto, rather than an independent and objective body;
* the advertisements denigrated products labelled as "imitators", and in the process left consumers to assume one of those was GForce Max.
The panel said imitations were copies and intrinsically inferior to an original product -- it would have been better for specific products to be named, so that others such as the Orion herbicide were not smeared.