BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Recommends Clorox Modify Packaging to Clarify Role of Zinc Pyrithione in its ‘Glad Tall Kitchen Drawstring Bags’

New York, NY – May17, 2016 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that The Clorox Company modify product packaging and a free-standing insert to better assure that consumers understand that Clorox’s zinc pyrithione (ZPT) works to prevent odors on the drawstring of the company’s “Glad Tall Kitchen Drawstring Bags.”

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

The product in this case – “Glad Tall Kitchen Drawstring Bags” – is branded with both the Glad and the Clorox logos. ZPT is the antimicrobial agent that prevents odor-causing bacteria from forming on drawstring of a bag.

Key to NAD’s decision was its review of the claim in the various contexts in which it was made.

Challenger Reynolds Consumer Products LLC, did not take issue with literal truth of the statement, “Antimicrobial Protection of the Drawstring from Odors,” but argued that claim reasonably conveyed the message that the product provides protection against food-borne or disease-causing bacteria or germs.

NAD concluded that the combined design elements, in the context in which they are found on the product packaging, reasonably conveyed a confusing, if not inaccurate, message as to the specific antimicrobial protection offered.

For example, NAD noted in its decision that the Clorox chevron logo visually dominates the front panel of the product’s packaging and overshadows the claim at issue, which is made in a smaller font. NAD determined that consumers could reasonably understand “antimicrobial protection” to mean protection from bacteria and germs rather than odor produced by bacteria and germs on the drawstring.

NAD recommended that the advertiser modify the front panel to more accurately state, that the product contains an antimicrobial agent to control drawstring odor and increase the font size of the claim so it is not overshadowed by the presence of the Clorox logo.

On the side panel, the advertised Glad Bags appear next to a host of other Clorox disinfecting products including Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner with Bleach, Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, Clorox Bleach, and Clorox Clean-up Cleaner & Bleach. Depictions of the Glad and Clorox products are accompanied by the language “A Perfect Partnership for All of Life’s Messes.”

NAD determined that consumers could takeaway the message that, like these other Clorox products, the advertised bags offer a disinfecting benefit when that is not the case. NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the depiction of the advertised Glad Bags alongside these disinfecting products.

With respect to the FSI, the claim appears alongside a red arrow pointing to the drawstring, accompanied by the language “New Glad…now with…Clorox [logo].” In this context, NAD determined that consumers could reasonably takeaway the unsupported message that the advertised product actually contains sodium hypochlorite, the active ingredient in Clorox bleach – a message that is unsupported by the record. NAD recommended that, in addition to the modification of the anti-microbial claim as outlined, the advertiser discontinue the use of the phrase, “now with Clorox” from its FSI/coupon.

Clorox, in its advertiser’s statement, said that while the company “respectfully disagrees with NAD’s finding that Clorox’s odor protection claim could confuse consumers, Clorox will take NAD’s recommendations into account when developing future advertising.”

Note: A recommendation by NAD to modify or discontinue a claim is not a finding of wrongdoing and an advertiser’s voluntary discontinuance or modification of claims should not be construed as an admission of impropriety. It is the policy of NAD not to endorse any company, product, or service. Decisions finding that advertising claims have been substantiated should not be construed as endorsements.