BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Finds eSalon Can Support Express Claims; Recommends Company Modify, Discontinue Certain Social-Media Practices

New York, NY – Oct. 23, 2013 – The National Advertising Division has determined that eSalon, the maker of custom hair-color products, can support express claims made on its website and across social-media channels.

However, NAD has recommended that the advertiser modify or discontinue certain social-media practices to avoid confusion between sponsored content and independent editorial content.

NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

NAD requested the company provide substantiation for a number of express claims. Following its review of the advertiser’s evidence, NAD determined eSalon could support claims that included:

  •  “Salon-grade Color crafted for you by experts, as if you’re in their chair.”
  •  “Individual color made just for you, not the masses. The perfect match…”
  •  “Our expert colorists craft your color, using thousands of color variations to personalize it for you. We consider everything from hair color history, amount of gray, skin tone, eye color, and more, to create your most flattering shade.”
  •  “The patent-pending technology enables individual customization on a large scale. Our hair colors are not pre-stocked. Every order is custom blended, bottled and packaged.”

NAD noted in its decision that it appreciated the advertiser’s cooperation into its marketing and social media practices and noted that the social media strategies used by eSalon are not unique to eSalon.

“In fact,” NAD stated, “advertisers are increasingly looking to market their products through social media and content marketing, as advertisers search for alternative, more cost-effective ways to reach and interact with consumers. The new context in which advertising appears poses challenges related to the obligation of advertisers to inform consumers when content posted online is advertising.”

The advertiser in this case, NAD noted, maintains a presence on social-media platforms that include Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, as well as a blog –

The company promotes its product exclusively through social media, editorial and blogger reviews and the redistribution of those reviews in social media. As part of its review, NAD considered the advertiser’s social-media practices.

NAD was concerned that some online content, which appeared to be editorial or user-generated content, was in fact generated by the advertiser, and questioned whether consumers could clearly discern whether the content they were reading about eSalon was advertising or editorial content.

Following its review, NAD recommended the advertiser:

  •  Disclose, clearly and conspicuously, at the top of and on each page or post, that eSalon maintains the blog.
  •  Advise reviewers of their disclosure obligations when it provides incentives for posting online reviews or content about eSalon, and the advertiser disclose any incentives it provides for posts about eSalon when eSalon promotes or otherwise redistributes such posts.
  •  Disclose its connection to the blog, www.haircolorforwomen, when it posts content from the blog on Pinterest or other social media.
  •  Discontinue its use of non-endorser celebrity photos on its website or in social media, because such use implies an endorsement of eSalon by the depicted celebrity.

The company, in its advertiser’s statement, said: “eSalon was pleased that the justification provided for all its direct claims were well taken and will take into account the recommendations suggested by NAD in future advertising.”