Clorox tells Lysol to clean up its act in false-advertising lawsuit

Kelly Tyko

Clorox is taking a swipe at the maker of Lysol in a dirty spat over false advertising.

The Clorox Company announced Wednesday in a statement that it filed a lawsuit against Reckitt Benckiser for its Lysol brand "in response to a wide-ranging false and deceptive advertising campaign."

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in the Northern District of California, is asking for a court order to stop "the deceptive ads and requiring RB to surrender the profits it has earned as a result of them," Clorox said in a statement.

Reckitt Benckiser, a British multinational consumer goods conglomerate, said in an email to USA TODAY Thursday that it stands "behind the claims we make in our advertising and take any accusations of this nature extremely seriously.”

The lawsuit says several of the television, internet and social media ads disparage Clorox products and compare them "unfavorably to Lysol products in terms of efficacy and durability." 

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Clorox, which calls itself "the top seller of bleach-based products," says in the lawsuit that the campaign has "injured Clorox’s standing with consumers and diverted sales and market share" to its competitor.

"Consumers deserve truthful information, and advertising that can help them make the product choices that are best for their households," said Eric Reynolds, executive vice president-Cleaning and Burt's Bees in the Clorox statement. "We're not opposed to competitive advertising, but we are opposed to advertising designed to mislead."

The lawsuit also requests corrective advertising, unspecified damages and attorneys' fees.

"The egregious and misleading nature of their campaign compelled us to file this lawsuit," Reynolds said in the statement. "We owe it to our consumers, employees, customers and shareholders to hold RB accountable for attempting to gain unfair competitive advantage through these deceptive practices."

Lysol's parent company said in its statement to USA TODAY that “Lysol Spray is the No.1 disinfectant brand in the US with over 50 percent of households using Lysol products."

“We cannot comment on the Clorox statement or any other details related to ongoing litigation, but we can state that we would never mislead consumers, as a matter of principle,” the company said.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Clorox tells Lysol to clean up its act in false-advertising lawsuit