BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Determines P&G can Support Claims for ‘Align’, Advertiser Voluntarily Discontinues Certain Claims

New York, New York – Sept. 14,  2009 – The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has determined that Procter & Gamble can support certain advertising claims for the company’s “Align” dietary supplement, including a doctor-recommended claim. NAD determined, as well, that the company took appropriate action in voluntarily discontinuing certain “clinically proven” claims.

NAD is the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum. Through NAD’s ongoing monitoring program and in conjunction with an initiative with the Council for Responsible Nutrition  designed to expand NAD’s review of advertising claims for dietary supplements, NAD requested substantiation for claims made for Align on product packaging and in broadcast, print and Internet advertising.

Claims at issue included:

  • “Align helps restore your natural balance, building and maintaining a stronger, healthier digestive system.”
  • “Align is the #1 Gastroenterologist-Recommended probiotic supplement that helps you build and maintain a stronger, healthier digestive system.”
  • “Only Align contains Bifantis®, which gives you a probiotic supplement that is clinically proven against 5 signs of digestive imbalance, providing ongoing protection against episodic constipation, diarrhea, urgency, gas, and bloating.”
  • “Align® with Bifantis® is the only probiotic clinically proven to naturally protect against episodes of constipation, diarrhea, urgency, gas and bloating.”

Upon receipt of NAD’s inquiry, P&G said that it planned to discontinue the “clinically proven” claims in all U.S. media, while it conducts further research on Align – a commitment NAD determined to be necessary and proper.

In its review of the remaining claims at issue, NAD examined evidence that included the results of a survey of gastroenterologists, commissioned by P&G from Wolters Kluwers and presented as support the claim that “Align is the #1 Gastroenterologist-Recommended probiotic supplement… .”

NAD has recognized in prior decisions, advertisements that include claims concerning medical professionals such as “Doctor Recommended” carry great deal of weight with consumers. Consequently, NAD closely scrutinizes these types of claims and requires highly reliable supporting evidence as substantiation. In this case, NAD determined that the results of the survey supported the claim that gastroenterologists who recommend probiotics do recommend Align more often than any other brand.

NAD further determined that the body of research presented by the advertiser as evidence was sufficient to support the general claim that “Align helps restore your natural balance, building and maintaining a stronger, healthier digestive system.”

P&G, in its advertiser’s statement, said that as a “strong supporter of the NAD, P&G will honor its commitments to NAD and will as always take the NAD’s decision into account in future advertising.”