BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Recommends CIBA Discontinue Certain Claims For “Aquacomfort Plus” Contact Lenses, Finds Advertiser Can Support Certain Claims

New York, New York – Dec. 16,  2009 – The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that CIBA Vision Corp. discontinue certain advertising claims made for the company’s DAILIES AquaComfort Plus contact lenses, but determined that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis for other advertising claims.

NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, examined print advertising that appeared in the January 2009 edition of Review of Optometry, following a challenge by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, maker of Acuvue brand contact lenses.

Claims at issue included:

  • “PATIENTS PREFER DAILIES AQUACOMFORT PLUS ALMOST 2-TO-1 OVER 1•DAY ACUVUE MOIST ON KEY COMFORT ATTRIBUTES”
  • “DAILIES AQUACOMFORT PLUS, WITH OUR UNIQUE TRIPLE ACTION MOISTURE, DELIVERS SUPERIOR COMFORT COMPARED TO 1•DAY ACUVUE MOIST.”

J&J Vision Care challenged claims that appeared in a two-page print advertisement aimed at promoting the CIBA product to optometrists. The first page featured an image of a full water pitcher wrapped in chains and a padlock next to a dead potted plant.  The adjacent page features a half-full water pitcher and a vibrant flowering potted plant.

The rhetorical question, “What good is moisture if it doesn’t get where it’s needed?” ran across both pages, along with the language  “DAILIES AQUACOMFORT PLUS REFRESHES WITH EVERY BLINK” followed by the statement, “Patients prefer new DAILIES AquaComfort Plus almost 2-to-1 over 1•Day Acuvue Moist. 

The advertisement featured a bar chart entitled “Patients Prefer DAILIES AquaComfort Plus Almost 2-to-1 Over 1•Day Acuvue Moist on Key Comfort Attributes” which compared the two lenses on specific comfort attributes (Initial Comfort, All Day Comfort, End of Day Comfort, and Overall Comfort).  It also featured an image of the CIBA Vision Dailies Aqua Comfort Plus packaging with the statement, “Looking for a great way to grow your practice?  Prescribe daily disposable lenses and choose the one that’s preferred almost 2-to-1 – DAILIES AquaComfort Plus.  To find out more visit dailies.com.”

NAD noted in its decision that the advertiser asserted it had permanently discontinued the use of the water pitcher images and the rhetorical question, “What good is moisture if it doesn’t get where it’s needed?” prior to NAD’s inquiry, and consequently, NAD did not review those claims on the merits.

Following its review of the evidence in the record, including the results of a clinical trial offered by the advertiser, NAD concluded that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis in support of the superior comfort and almost 2-to-1 preference claims with respect to patients who wear daily disposable lenses.

NAD noted for the record, however, that the advertiser’s evidence was relevant only to patients switching from one daily disposable lens to another. NAD determined that the superior comfort and preference claims, as well as the bar chart illustrating the specific comfort attributes for which the advertiser’s lenses were preferred, were not relevant to patients who would be switching from a one- or two-week reusable lens to daily disposable lenses and should not be directed to that general audience.

In addition, in order to avoid conveying the unsupported message that the preference extends to all soft contact lens wearers, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the use of the claim, “Looking for a great new way to grow your practice?” in conjunction with the almost 2-to-1 preference or superior comfort claims, which NAD considered to be an invitation to optometrists to consider the preference for AquaComfort Plus when switching patients from reusable disposable lenses to daily disposable lenses; and expressly limit its superior comfort, almost 2-to-1 preference claims and bar chart to daily lens wearers only.

CIBA, in its advertiser’s statement, said it would take NAD’s recommendations into account in future advertising.

CIBA said it “appreciates NAD’s careful attention to this matter and is pleased to support the NAD process of self-regulation for advertising disputes.’