P&G Filed for Investigation by Market Supervision Administration in China

After the incident that P&G apologized for its post accused insulting women. It is found that a case was opened on March 28 against Guangzhou Procter & Gamble Co. due to its posted article Women’s Foot Odor is Five Times Worse than Male’s. Don’t Believe me, Smell it now!

Last month, P&G published Women’s Foot Odor is Five Times Worse than Male’s. Don’t Believe me, Smell it now!, which triggered taunting, resenting and rebuking from consumers and was accused of insulting women and sexism.

The article was deleted by P&G after the incident, but the matter still triggered extensive discussions on social media platforms. On March 24, the topic #P&G# and other related topics once soared to fourth place on Weibo trending topics.

Many netizens did not accept the apology and said they would boycott P&G and P&G products.

However, the matter did not end with P&G’s apology. On March 26, a blogger on Weibo named “Lawyer Deng Gaojing” posted on the Chinese social media platform Weibo that the article blatantly fabricated facts to insult, slander, defame and denigrate women, which violated the Advertising Law of the People’s Republic of China and the Public Security Administration Punishments Law of the People’s Republic of China, and appealed that Guangzhou Market Supervision Administration would impose punishment on Guangzhou P&G Co. Ltd. However, it is found that this post has been deleted on its Weibo account. The Weibo account of “Lawyer Deng Gaojing” is certified as “Partner of DehehanTong Law Offices”.

On March 28, it was found that the “P&G Member Center” Wechat(Chinese social platform) Public Account had been canceled. The account showed that the public account had entered the freeze period of independent cancellation and the function could not be used.

A few days ago, the account “Lawyer Deng Gaojing” on Weibo(a Chinese social platform) released information that “P&G allegedly released illegal advertising behavior has been filed for investigation.” In this regard, the Guangzhou Huangpu District Market Supervision Administration stated that P&G was indeed investigated on March 28 this year.

After that, on April 7, the lawyer posted on Weibo again, “After I was informed by phone on March 31 that the case had been filed. A text message was just sent by Guangzhou Huangpu District Government, officially informing us that an investigation had been filed on March 28, 2022 against Guangzhou Procter & Gamble Company Limited for allegedly releasing illegal advertisements (Sui Huang Case [2022] 00096), and the case is being processed. The results will be announced to the public after the case has been processed”.

For that, P&G did not respond and relevant staff from Guangzhou Huangpu District Market Supervision Administration said “It is true that a case was opened on March 28 against Guangzhou Procter & Gamble Co. due to its posted article Women’s Foot Odor is Five Times Worse than Male’s. Don’t Believe me, Smell it now!.” The staff said that the case is currently under investigation.

In fact, not only “Lawyer Deng Gaojing”, there are a number of lawyers commented on the matter after the incident have triggered a large discussion. They all believed that P&G’s behavior was suspected of violating The Advertising Law of the People’s Republic of China.

According to Article 9 of The Advertising Law of the People’s Republic of China, “advertisements shall not contain national, racial, religious or gender discriminatory content”. Violation of this provision is punishable by a fine of not less than $31,000 and not more than $15.69 million in accordance with Article 57 of The Advertising Law of the People’s Republic of China. In serious cases, the business license may be revoked, its advertising approval documents revoked, and its application for advertising review not accepted within one year. Its an advertising review application.

For example, on March 24, the official weibo of Legal Daily quoted Kong Lei, a lawyer from Beijing Eastcapital Law Firm, as saying, “Commercial marketing should adhere to the legal and moral bottom line and effectively fulfill its obligation to protect the rights and interests of consumers. In addition, businesses can promote their own products, but can not ignore the rights of female consumers to be respected under The Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Consumer Rights and Interests”.

According to the video released by the official account JINBW revealing that P&G has released a sexist advertisement in the article, which violates the provisions of Article 9 of the Advertising Law. In addition, the article uses P&G should not only be responsible for the accuracy of the data, but should also label the data in accordance with Article 11 of The Advertising Law. Article 11 of the Advertising Law stipulates that the source should be marked.” Wang Wenbo said, “If these data are false, then P&G may also be suspected of issuing false advertisements.”

The data from P&G was found in a paper titled “Factors Influencing Microbiological Biodiversity of Human Foot Skin”, which did not mention odor. According to an article published in 2019 in the SCI journal “International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health”, a study of the effects of age, gender, frequency of foot washing and physical activity on humans The effect of foot skin microorganisms was found to be 1.0*106CFU/cm2 on average for women’s feet and 1.2*105CFU/cm2 for men’s feet.

However, the overall data difference between the two groups was not statistically significant, and it could not be concluded that there was a difference between the total bacterial count of women and men.

Secondly, the sense of smell is a very subjective feeling, and there is no basis for the stink 5 times frequently proposed in the P&G article.

Therefore, the argument that “women’s feet smell 5 times more than men’s” is not valid. And whether the sample data is applicable to Asian groups is open to question.

Article 11 of the Advertising Law clearly states that “advertisements using data, statistics, survey results, abstracts, quotations and other quotations should be true and accurate, and should be indicated the source”. If violate this provision, according to Article 59 of the Advertising Law, the advertiser may be fined up to $16 thousand.




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