BBB National Programs Archive


New York, NY – Jan. 18, 2012 -The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has determined that Reckitt-Benckiser, Inc., took necessary and appropriate action in discontinuing challenged advertising claims made for “Resolve” line of stain pre-treatment laundry products.

The claims at issue were challenged before NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, by SC Johnson & Son, Inc.

The claims appeared in television advertising, point-of-purchase displays, nationally-distributed instant rebate coupons and free standing inserts. Claims at issue included:


• “Rated #1* Stain Treatment” (*”by a leading consumer publication)

• “Experts from a leading consumer publication recently tested stain treatments.  They rated Resolve laundry number 1, beating Shout.  Try Resolve laundry for amazing stain removal. Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back.”

NAD also considered whether the advertising at issue conveyed the implied message that all Resolve products outperformed all Shout products in reliable testing.

Upon receipt of the challenge, the advertiser assured NAD in writing that the challenged television commercial is no longer on air and that the claims  contained in the advertisement would be permanently discontinued.  In addition, the advertiser stated that coupons and free standing inserts containing the “Rated #1 Stain Treatment” would no longer be produced or shipped. Finally, the advertiser stated that its website would be immediately revised without the claims in question.

(Full text of decision available to media upon request.)

NAD noted in its decision that the express claim was “Rated #1 Stain Treatment … by a leading

consumer publication*” was literally true.  However, NAD said, advertising claims are not reviewed

in a vacuum. When analyzing the messages conveyed by a particular advertisement, NAD typically

reviews the totality or overall net impression created by the advertisement as a whole, not merely

words or phrases standing alone. Further, NAD takes into consideration both the words and the

visual images featured in the advertisement.

In this case, NAD noted that the prominent statement “RESOLVE BEATS SHOUT,” appeared

alongside the “Rated #1” claim, changing the message conveyed by adding a comparative context to

the challenged advertising.

As a general rule, comparative performance claims should be supported by reliable testing

demonstrating the claimed superior effectiveness. Because many of the challenged advertisements

featured the entire Resolve product line, that comparative superiority claim would require evidence

demonstrating that the entire Resolve line is superior to the entire SHOUT line. NAD noted is appreciation for the advertiser’s written assurance that the challenged advertising has

been permanently discontinued, an action NAD determined was both necessary and appropriate.


NAD’s inquiry was conducted under NAD/CARU/NARB Procedures for the Voluntary Self-Regulation of National Advertising.  Details of the initial inquiry, NAD’s decision, and the advertiser’s response will be included in the next NAD/CARU Case Report.

About Advertising Industry Self-Regulation: The National Advertising Review Council (NARC) was formed in 1971. NARC establishes the policies and procedures for the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the CBBB’s Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) and the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP).

The NARC Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the American Advertising Federation, Inc. (AAF), American Association of Advertising Agencies, Inc., (AAAA),  the Association of National Advertisers, Inc. (ANA), Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc. (CBBB), Direct Marketing Association (DMA), Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) and Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).  Its purpose is to foster truth and accuracy in national advertising through voluntary self-regulation.

NAD, CARU and ERSP are the investigative arms of the advertising industry’s voluntary self-regulation  program. Their casework results from competitive challenges from other advertisers, and also from self-monitoring traditional and new media. NARB, the appeals body, is a peer group from which ad-hoc panels are selected to adjudicate NAD/CARU cases that are not resolved at the NAD/CARU level. This unique, self-regulatory system is funded entirely by the  business community; CARU is financed by the children’s advertising industry, while NAD/NARC/NARB’s primary source of funding is derived from membership fees paid to the CBBB. ERSP’s funding is derived from membership in the Electronic Retailing Association. For more information about advertising industry self-regulation, please visit