The National Advertising Division has recommended that Sun Products, Inc., discontinue or modify certain comparative claims for the company’s “All with Stainlifters” laundry detergent. Further, NAD determined that the advertiser took necessary and appropriate action in voluntarily discontinuing a “Grass Stain Demonstration” video posted at its YouTube channel.
NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. The Council of Better Business Bureaus administers it.
The claims at issue were challenged by Church & Dwight Co. Inc. (CHD), the maker of Arm & Hammer Plus OxiClean laundry detergent, and included: “all combines In-Wash Pre-Treaters with its active stainlifters to attack tough grass stains for more cleaning power than just washing with the leading value detergent and booster combined;” “More Cleaning Power!” and “For Better Stain Removal.”
The broadcast advertising at issue features a visual comparison of the advertiser’s product against an unidentified orange bottle that closely resembles an Arm & Hammer liquid detergent bottle, a voiceover that states “for more cleaning power than just washing with the leading value detergent and booster combined” and the following super: “Comparison based on pretreating and washing with All Stainlifters vs. just washing with the leading value detergent and leading booster combined.”
It evaluating the substantiation for comparative advertising claims, it is well settled that the products being compared must be treated equally and tested in the same manner in which the products are directed to consumers and that comparative demonstrations must fairly and accurately reflect the results that consumers typically see and experience when they use and compare the two products.
In this case, NAD found that in one of the two tests performed by Sun the products were not treated equally in accordance with product directions. NAD determined that the advertiser’s comparative performance claim – and the supporting evidence for that claim – was premised upon pre-treating and washing a grass-stained garment in “All with Stainlifters” in accordance with product use directions, but ignoring the product-use directions for pre-treating grass stains with the booster and washing with the challenger’s product.
NAD recommended that the challenged comparative claim be discontinued and that and more clearly and conspicuously disclose the object of comparison (Arm & Hammer Clean Burst).
NAD found that the advertiser could support a stand-alone performance claim that “All with Stainlifters” outperforms a previous formulation of all detergent.
Sun Products, in its advertiser’s statement, said “for marketing reasons Sun has made the decision to discontinue this commercial and will take NAD’s suggestions into consideration in future advertising. Sun appreciates the opportunity to participate in the self-regulatory process.”