S.C. Johnson & Son Inc. may continue to advertise that its fabric odor eliminator sinks deeper into carpet than a competitor's product, but the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureaus recommends that S.C. Johnson stop showing it in television ads.
However, the NAD recommended that S.C. Johnson of Racine discontinue visuals in broadcast advertising that aren’t supported by evidence.
The National Advertising Division said it examined the comparative superior performance claim following a challenge by Procter & Gamble. Specifically, P&G took issue with the claim that Glade Fabric and Air Odor Eliminator “penetrates deeper than Febreze on carpet.”
The disputed television commercial depicts a consumer spraying the Glade product in a closet and on a dog bed as the announcer introduces the product and then states: that Glade Fabric & Air “penetrates deeper than Febreze on carpet.”
The commercial features a close-up of the respective products as they are sprayed on a carpet. The camera then cuts to a side-by-side close-up of carpet fibers with droplets seen penetrating into the carpet. The commercial depicts droplets of the advertiser's product penetrating deeper into the carpet fibers.
Procter & Gamble noted that it had conducted three different tests to assess the relative abilities of Glade Fabric & Air and Febreze to penetrate carpets, resulting in data that demonstrated Febreze penetrates deeper on carpets than the Johnson product. P&G asserted that its testing took into consideration more consumer relevant conditions typical of the average consumer experience, which were then applied to the laboratory setting.
S.C. Johnson offered technical testing in support of its claim that Glade Fabric & Air penetrates carpet more deeply than Febreze.
NAD's ruling noted that S.C. Johnson provided microscopic photographic evidence from which measurements were taken demonstrating that the Glade product was able to penetrate an average of 3.08 millimeters into nylon carpet, which is the most-used fiber for carpet in the U.S. The Procter & Gamble product penetrated 0.81 millimeters into the fibers.
“While we do not feel that the visuals in the commercial were misleading, S.C. Johnson is a strong supporter of the industry self-regulatory process and we will take the NAD’s views into consideration in future advertising,” the Racine firm said in a prepared statement.