Fairy happy as scientists prove it lasts twice as long

Rival washing up liquid loses challenge to ad claim

Fairy liquid's bold claims about lasting much longer than its rivals isn't a fairy tale after all.

It is likely to be red faces all round at Persil headquarters today after a complaint it made to the British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about its main rival went disastrously wrong.

Persil launched a complaint against Fairy washing up liquid claiming its boast about lasting twice as long as its main rival was bogus. However, scientists have proved that the leading brand really does do exactly what it say on the bottle.

For more than 60 years consumers in Ireland and the UK have been told that Fairy was twice as effective as other washing up liquids and while several companies have challenged this claim since the brand first landed on shop shelves in 1950, it wasn't until today that it was proven beyond reasonable doubt.


Fairy is the market leader in the UK and well ahead of its nearest rival Persil. That brand lodged a complaint with the ASA about recent TV and digital billboard ads which saw one bottle of Fairy competing against two bottles of an “unknown” rival - said to be the next leading brand. The ASA accepted Persil’s contention that the reference was to its product.

The ad shows both bottles emptying but the mystery brand quickly runs out and Fairy keeps going and lasts as long as two bottles of its rival.

All the while, a voiceover reminds would-be dishwashers that “generations have trusted Fairy’s cleaning power because it lasts a long, long time. And today it lasts twice as long as the next best-selling brand. That’s Fairyconomy.”

The ASA issued its findings today after seeking “expert advice on the robustness of the evidence provided by Procter & Gamble” the company which owns the Fairy brand.

While neither the company or the ASA went into detail about the experiments the “expert considered the test reflected the practices of consumers and demonstrated that Fairy lasted at least twice as long as Persil. On that basis, we considered the claims that Fairy lasted twice as long as the next best-selling brand had been substantiated.”

Now all the boffins at the ASA need to do is prove that “hands that do dishes can feel soft as your face, with mild green Fairy Liquid” and the ad will be beyond reproach.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast