The claims at issue, which appeared on websites, television advertising, and product packaging, were challenged by the Procter and Gamble Company (P&G), a competing manufacturer of toothpaste.
In support of its claim that Optic White Renewal “removes 10 years of yellow stains,” the advertiser relied on three studies that it sponsored. Of those three, NAD determined that the advertiser’s 2018 clinical study, which sought to measure the efficacy of Optic White Renewal at removing stains from teeth, was a reliable measure of the reduction of yellow tooth staining and that a second study included the necessary indicia of reliability. However, NAD had concerns about the fact that, in developing its claim from the study results, Colgate failed to consider the results of the negative control when formulating its claim.
NAD found that accounting for the control would have led to a claim that better reflects the results consumers could expect from the product in real-world usage.
Further, NAD had concerns about one of Colgate’s other studies seeking to establish a rate of age-related tooth yellowing. Presented as an abstract, the study concluded that each unit of YIO correlated to 1.1 years of yellowing. However, NAD was unable to assess the reliability of this study’s conversion of YIO measurements to “years of yellow staining,” and as a result could not rely on Colgate’s conversion of its clinical study results as support for its “10 years” claim. Accordingly, NAD recommended that the advertiser’s claim that Optic White Renewal “removes 10 years of yellow stains” be discontinued.
Response from Colgate
In its advertiser statement, Colgate stated that it “strongly disagrees” with NAD’s recommendation relating to Colgate’s “removes 10 years of yellow stains” claim and will appeal that portion of the decision. Such appeals are made to the National Advertising Review Board, the appellate-level truth-in-advertising body of BBB National Programs.
All BBB National Programs case decisions can be found in the case decision library.