BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Recommends Colgate-Palmolive Discontinue ‘100%’ Grease Removal Claim for Ajax Ultra after P&G Challenge, but Won’t Recommend Product Name Change

New York, NY – May 15, 2018 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Colgate-Palmolive Company discontinue claims that Ajax Ultra Dish Liquid provides “100% Grease Removal.”

NAD found, though, the company could support the claim that Ajax Ultra Dish Liquid contains “100% Real Citrus Extract, and NAD declined, in the absence of extrinsic evidence that consumers have been confused or misled, to recommend that Colgate change the product’s name.

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 claims at issue in this case were challenged by The Procter & Gamble Company, maker of competing Dawn brand dishwashing liquids.

A key issue before NAD in this case was whether the advertiser’s testing could support the strong quantified claim, “100% Grease Removal.”

NAD noted in its decision that it recognizes the strong impact that quantified performance claims have on consumers, and that the use of the numerical “100%” conveys a message of completeness and certainty that more vague language may not. Testing presented in support of this quantified, absolute claim should measure the total absence of grease from dishes – the promised benefit of its Ajax Ultra.

NAD further noted that it was troubled by certain aspects of the advertiser’s three tests, including the number of greasy soil samples employed, the number of dishes washed and the absence of stainless steel pots and pans, although stainless steel kitchenware was featured in the challenged advertising.

“While the advertiser need not test every conceivable substrate found in kitchenware or utensils, Colgate’s testing clearly dealt with only a small fraction of kitchenware and dishwashing situations,” NAD stated in its decision. NAD determined that the testing “was not a good indication of the efficacy of the advertiser’s Ajax Ultra in more difficult grease cutting situations on a wider variety of kitchenware,” and recommended the advertiser discontinue its “100% Grease Removal” claim.

Regarding the challenged “With 100% Real Citrus Extract” claim, NAD determined that Ajax Ultra does contain citrus extracts in its formulas, providing a reasonable basis for the claim, which was not tied to a performance benefit. NAD determined that the message conveyed was a product ingredient claim.

Finally, turning to the challenged product name, NAD noted that in the absence of evidence that consumers had been confused or misled, it would not recommend that the advertiser change the name of  its “Ajax Ultra” product.

Colgate-Palmolive, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company “agrees to comply with the NAD’s recommendations.”

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.