South African self-regulation body The Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) has upheld a complaint by L’Oréal South Africa against Nutriwomen over packaging imitation. 

In a complaint, L’Oréal South Africa alleged that Nutriwomen’s Dermacare range packaging imitated the distinctive elements of L’Oréal’s Cerave skincare products.  

L’Oréal South Africa, through its legal representation ENS Africa, contended that Nutriwomen’s Dermacare packaging closely resembled Cerave’s, including fonts, and product design.  

The company argued that Dermacare “copies” its colours and product range descriptors.  

L’Oréal South Africa, in its complaint, said: “The Cerave brand’s unique and exclusive combination of three scientifically identified essential skin identical ceramides, the blend of which is identical to the ceramides found naturally in skin, has been a major marketing point for the Cerave brand and is found in every Cerave product.”  

The ARB ruled that Nutriwomen’s packaging indeed constitutes an imitation of the Cerave packaging, thereby violating Clause nine of Section II of the Code. 

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The combination of design elements in Cerave’s packaging had become distinctive and recognisable, thus deserving protection, ARB said. 

In its defence, Nutriwomen argued that the colour scheme used is employed commonly in the skincare products and that its packaging was “vastly different” from Cerave’s.  

“The packaging is overall “vastly different” to the current Cerave packaging; the packaging architecture is not unique in the skincare industry, both locally and globally,” Nutriwomen said.