BBB National Programs Archive


New York, NY – March 20, 2012  – The National Advertising Division has determined that Church & Dwight Co., Inc., could support a 2-1 preference claim for its Arm & Hammer Sensitive Skin Plus Scent and Perfume and Dye Free laundry detergents, but recommended the advertiser modify certain claims. The claims at issue were challenged by Sun Products Corporation, the manufacturer of the competing “all free clear” laundry detergent.

NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, examined claims that included:

“Introducing the skin-friendly detergent with a fresh scent.  No wonder it’s preferred 2 to 1 vs. the leading Free detergent.*  New ARM & HAMMER® Sensitive Skin Plus Scent is our first scented detergent clinically tested for sensitive skin.” [*in a nationwide survey; among those with a preference.]

  •       “Discover why people with sensitive skin are switching to ARM & HAMMER®.  Our Free detergents are specially formulated to be good to your sensitive skin.”
  •      “Finally, a scented choice for people with sensitive skin.”

By way of background, the challenger explained that the “free” segment of the laundry category includes products with formulas that do not contain any dyes or perfumes – a benefit to consumers with sensitive skin. Sun Products asserted that it holds 48 percent of that market.

Key to NAD’s decision was a preference study offered as evidence by the advertiser in support of its claim that A&H SS Plus Scent was “preferred 2 to 1 vs. the leading Free detergent” (‘all free clear). While the challenger raised concerns about the study, NAD noted that “many aspects of the advertiser’s test methodology (double-blind, rotated sequence of tested products, number of participants, geographically-dispersed test market) were appropriate and methodologically sound.”

Following its review of the evidence, NAD concluded that the advertiser’s Preference Study was competent and reliable and that it substantiated the claim that consumers preferred A&H SS Plus Scent 2 to 1 over the leading Free detergent (‘all free clear) – when the claim was made in a context that indicated the preference was due to the “fresh scent” of A&H SS Plus Scent.

However, NAD determined that one reasonable interpretation of the preference claim, as it appeared in the challenged advertising, was that A&H SS Plus Scent was preferred 2 to 1 over the leading Free detergent because it was more skin-friendly – a message that was not supported by the results of the Preference Study.

NAD therefore recommends that the advertiser modify its preference claim to avoid conveying a misleading message of superior product performance.

Further, NAD recommended that the advertiser continue to monitor Nielson data to ensure a continued reasonable basis for the “switching” claim.

NAD examined the advertiser’s “switching” claim as it appeared in two formats – either coupled with the advertiser’s preference claim as part of a two-page magazine spread, or on a stand alone basis. NAD determined that when the switching claim appeared coupled with the preference claim, it could convey the message that consumers are switching to A&H products from ‘all free clear – an unintended brand switching claim. However, NAD concluded that the switching claim in a stand-alone context did not convey the same message. Therefore, NAD recommended that the advertiser refrain from displaying the first and second ads in close proximity.

With regard to the advertiser’s claim, “finally, a scented choice for people with sensitive skin,” NAD determined that consumers are likely to takeaway the accurate message that A&H SS Plus Scent is the first scented detergent in the “free” segment of the general liquid laundry detergent market, thus the claim is not misleading. Finally, NAD determined that the net impression created by the phrase “good to sensitive skin” is that A&H SS Plus Scent is gentle (non-irritating) to sensitive skin – an accurate message.

While the advertiser took issue with certain of NAD’s findings, the company said in its advertiser’s statement that as a “strong supporter of the self-regulatory process, Church & Dwight will give NAD’s recommendations careful consideration in future advertising.”