NARB is the appellate unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
Advertising claims made by Coty were initially challenged before the National Advertising Division by Revlon Consumer Products, a maker of competing nail polishes.
Following its review of the advertising at issue, NAD determined that Coty provided a reasonable basis for its claim that Miracle Gel was more chip resistant than regular nail polish, although it recommended that Coty avoid placement of the claim in any context reasonably conveying an equivalent performance to salon gel manicures. Coty agreed to comply with this recommendation.
The NAD also determined that Coty did not provide a reasonable basis to support its claim that Miracle Gel provides “up to 14 days of color & shine,” and recommended that the claim be discontinued.
NAD further determined that the challenged advertising reasonably conveyed to consumers the message that by using Miracle Gel, they could achieve the equivalent or substantially similar benefits of a salon gel manicure. NAD found that this message was not supported by the record and recommended that Coty discontinue the following claims:
• Miracle Gel is “the breakthrough 2-step gel manicure: color + top coat, with zero light needed!”
• “Let natural light do the rest”
• “Cures in Natural Light”
• “The #1 zero light gel system!”
• “A real Gel. No UV/LED Light Needed”
• “No light gel”
• “Gel without the light”
• “[T]he ONLY TRUE 2-STEP GEL MANICURE with no light needed.”
• FAQ description of how Miracle Gel works
Finally, NAD determined that the words “Miracle Gel” in the product name were unlikely to convey to consumers that they can anticipate results equivalent to a professional salon gel manicure.
Coty appealed NAD’s recommendation to discontinue claims that Miracle Gel is a “no-light gel” or “gel without the light,” as well as the claim that Miracle Gel provides “up to 14 days of color & shine.”
Revlon appealed NAD’s determination with respect to use of the words “Miracle Gel” in the product name.
On appeal, a majority of the NARB panel found that the challenged “up to 14 days of color and shine” claim reasonably conveyed a message of long lasting color and shine. The panel further found that the record did not establish that an appreciable number of consumers will receive this maximum benefit over a 14-day time period. The panel found that the record supported a more limited claim that Miracle Gel “can” or “may” (or similar terms) provide up to 14 days of color and shine as long as the claim is made in a context that does not reasonably imply consumers will receive long lasting color and shine similar to what is achieved with a salon gel manicure.
Coty argued to the NARB panel that any message that a home gel nail polish provides similar benefits to a salon gel manicure would be puffery. However, the panel found that a claim that Miracle Gel will provide long lasting color and shine that is substantially similar to what is achieved in a salon gel manicure is capable of objective proof and not puffery.
The panel found that simply referring to Miracle Gel as a “no light gel” or “gel without a light,” by itself, did not reasonably convey a message that Miracle Gel provides substantially similar benefits as a salon gel manicure. However, the panel found that in the context of advertisements claiming Miracle Gel provides up to 14 days of color and shine, the description of Miracle Gel as a “no light gel” or “gel without a light” reasonably conveyed a message that Miracle Gel provides some benefits – for example, long lasting color and shine – that are substantially similar to the benefits of a salon gel manicure.
The panel recommended that Coty discontinue claims that Miracle Gel is a “no light gel” or “gel without the light” in the context of advertising that claims Miracle Gel provides color or shine for up to 14 days or any similar time period, makes more limited claims that Miracle Gel “can” or “may” provide color or shine for up to 14 days or any similar time period, and/or otherwise implies that Miracle Gel provides benefits similar to benefits achieved with a salon gel manicure.
The panel also recommended that Coty discontinue claims that Miracle Gel provides color and shine for up to 14 days or any similar time period. However, the panel noted, its decision does not preclude Coty from making a more limited truthful claim that Miracle Gel “can” or “may” provide up to a specified number of days of color and shine – as long as the claim is made in a context that doesn’t imply results similar to those achieved with a salon gel manicure.
Finally, the panel found that Miracle Gel’s top coat has the consistency of a gel and contains the basic elements (oligomers and a photoinitiator) of a gel nail polish, and that Miracle Gel would reasonably be considered by consumers to be a gel nail polish. The panel thus concluded that using “gel” in the product name did not convey a false or misleading message.
Coty took issue with the NARB’s decision, but said that while it “disagrees with the NARB’s conclusion and strongly believes that its consumer-based testing substantiates all express and implied claims in the advertising under review, it will take the NARB’s recommendations into account for any future advertising for Miracle Gel.”