A proposed class action claims Conopco, Inc., which does business as Unilever, has deceptively labeled its Axe “Anti Marks Protection” antiperspirant and falsely claimed the product is superior in comparison to other non-stain-fighting deodorants.
The products in question, the case says, display “Anti Marks,” “No Yellow Stains” and “No White Marks” guarantees on their front labels, along with statements indicating they provide “48HR Anti Marks Protection” from white marks and yellow stains on shirts. These antiperspirants are further represented as offering superior protection against stains when compared to standard Axe products, the complaint says.
The case claims that despite their labeling, the products do not provide any additional protection from stains and are essentially the same as Axe’s standard antiperspirants. The complaint states that the only significant difference between “Anti Marks” and standard Axe deodorants is that the former contains a diluted concentration of Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY – an ingredient that’s actually known to cause “the very problems Unilever deceptively claims it ‘protects [users] shirts from.’”
While the case concedes that the diluted amount of Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY in Axe’s “Anti Marks” products may cause staining to occur at a lower rate than other deodorants, the plaintiff contends that this does not mean the products protect from stains. From the lawsuit:
“The mere dilution of an active ingredient causing a problem is not, in any sense of the phrase, ‘protection’ from such problem.
Rather, the dilution of an active ingredient more likely simply reduces the effectiveness of the ‘normal’ product, making the Product, in reality, inferior to the non- ‘Anti Marks Protection’ line.”
The case further argues that although this dilution effectively decreases the value of the products, the defendant continues to sell the antiperspirants at the same price as its ordinary deodorant. The lead plaintiff claims he would not have bought the defendant’s antiperspirants at the advertised price had he known the products did not prevent stains.
The lawsuit, originally filed in the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Missouri has been removed to the Eastern District of Missouri.