Advertising News South Africa

ARB orders Nutriwomen to change Dermacare packaging

In a significant ruling, the Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) has upheld a complaint lodged by L’Oréal South Africa against Nutriwomen. The decision centres on the packaging and get-up of Nutriwomen's Dermacare product range, which L’Oréal alleged was an imitation of its Cerave skincare products.
The ARB agrees with the complainant that the Dermacare range is similar to Cerave's branding.
The ARB agrees with the complainant that the Dermacare range is similar to Cerave's branding.


L’Oréal South Africa, represented by ENS Africa, argued that Nutriwomen’s Dermacare packaging closely mirrored the distinctive elements of Cerave’s packaging, therefore exploiting the advertising goodwill associated with the Cerave brand. The complaint highlighted several elements that were allegedly copied, including colour schemes, fonts, and overall product design.

The ARB found that Nutriwomen's packaging did indeed constitute an imitation of the Cerave packaging, violating Clause nine of Section II of the Code, which protects against imitative practices. The decision emphasised that the Cerave packaging’s unique combination of design elements had become distinctive and recognisable, warranting protection under the Code.

“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,” said L’Oréal South Africa in its complaint.

Additionally, the complaint addressed the truthfulness of Nutriwomen's claim that its products were “dermatologist tested for sensitive skin.” The ARB reviewed the evidence submitted by Nutriwomen, including reports from dermatological tests and an expert opinion from Dr. John Knowlton, an established authority in the field of cosmetics. The ARB concluded that this claim was substantiated and compliant with the Code.

In its defence of the packaging, Nutriwomen stated that the colour scheme is common in the beauty industry.

“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,” said Nutriwomen.


Following the ruling, Nutriwomen has been instructed to amend its Dermacare packaging within three months. ARB members have been advised not to accept advertising or stock bearing the current Dermacare packaging from 16 August 2024.

About Karabo Ledwaba

Karabo Ledwaba is a Marketing and Media Editor at Bizcommunity and award-winning journalist. Before joining the publication she worked at Sowetan as a content producer and reporter. She was also responsible for the leadership page at SMag, Sowetan's lifestyle magazine. Contact her at
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