BBB National Programs Archive
NAD Recommends Discontinuance Of Health And Doctor Recommended Advertising Claims For Mommy’s Bliss Cough Syrups & Probiotics Drops
New York, NY – March 27, 2019 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Mommy’s Bliss, Inc. discontinue various health and doctor-recommended claims on product packaging, and in website, social media and third-party advertising for Mommy’s Bliss’ Cough Syrups, Organic Kids Cough Syrup & Mucus Relief (Day and Nighttime), Infant Organic Cough Syrup & Mucus Relief (Day and Nighttime Versions), Probiotic Drops Everyday, Probiotic Drops + Vitamin D, and Probiotic Drops + 15 Day Boost, following a challenge by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. The products at issue are dietary supplements that are intended to be used by infants and young children.
NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc. challenged various claims made by the advertiser for its cough syrups, cough syrup and mucus relief combination product (both Organic Kids and Organic Infant) including, but not limited to: “easing baby’s cold symptoms”; [for] parents [who] want to help their kids feel better”; “sick baby toolkit”; “for when cold & flu season hits”; “remedies that work fast on sniffles, sneezes, sore throats and coughs”; “mucus relief” and “recommended by pediatricians.” It also contended that the advertiser’s claims reasonably convey the message that its cough syrups are as effective as FDA-regulated drug products in treating coughs, mucus, cold and flu in children and infants.
As for the advertiser’s claims that its products can help children “feel better,” NAD determined that one reasonable takeaway from this advertising is that children suffering from cough – regardless of the cause – will have their cough symptoms alleviated from a Mommy’s Bliss “cough syrup” and therefore “feel better.” However, NAD noted that the advertiser submitted no evidence that its cough syrups relieve cough and therefore help children to feel better. Accordingly, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the claims: “[For] parents [who] want to help their kids feel better;” “when your little one isn’t feeling well;” “to get them feeling better again;” and the consumer testimonial claim “for moms to use when their babies aren’t feeling so great.”
With respect to Mommy’s Bliss’ “cough” claims (“relief for coughs and sniffles;” “remedies that work fast on sniffles, sneezes, sore throats and coughs,” “sore throats,” “calm the most troublesome coughs,” “break up [clear] yucky mucus;” “excessive mucus;” and “mucus relief), NAD concluded that a reasonable interpretation of these claims is that these products offer comfort to children and infants (i.e. bring them back to “bliss”) by providing relief from coughs, sore throat, mucus, and cold and flu in children and infants. However, NAD found the advertiser had no substantiation for the advertiser’s cough, mucus and irritated/sore throat relief claims and recommended that these, and related, claims be discontinued.
The advertiser informed NAD that it had permanently discontinued the “easing baby’s cold symptoms, “sick baby toolkit,” and “for when cold & flu season hits.” In reliance on the advertiser’s written representation that these claims will be permanently discontinued, NAD did not review the claims on their merits. Further, in light of the discontinuance of these claims, NAD determined that the implied claim that Mommy’s Bliss’ cough syrups are as effective as FDA-regulated drug products in treating cold and flu symptoms in babies and children was no longer conveyed.
Johnson & Johnson, Inc. also took issue with claims made by the advertiser for its Probiotic Drops Everyday, Probiotic Drops + Vitamin D, and Probiotic Drops + 15 Day Boost products including that these products are “Good for … diarrhea,” “Pediatrician recommended,” and the related implied claim that Mommy’s Bliss’ probiotic drops are as effective as OTC antidiarrheal drug products in treating diarrhea in babies.
NAD found that the studies provided by the advertiser were not a good fit for its anti- diarrhea claim. The advertiser’s studies did not provide subjects with the same dosage of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG as is present in the Mommy’s Bliss products, a fact that NAD considered to be a fatal flaw. NAD was also concerned that the studies were not performed on the target population of the Mommy’s Bliss probiotic supplements, i.e. newborns. As such, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the challenged “good for. . . diarrhea” and “occasional diarrhea” claims in connection with its probiotic supplements.
Lastly, NAD addressed the advertiser’s “pediatrician recommended” claims that appear on its website in connection with its cough syrups and probiotic drops as well as the “recommended by pediatricians nationwide” claim included on third-party websites, such as Amazon.com. NAD noted “doctor recommended” claims carry a great deal of weight with consumers and, consequently, must be supported by well-conducted physician surveys in which doctors base their conclusions on their actual experience and what they actually recommend in their daily practice. No such survey evidence was provided by the advertiser. Rather, the advertiser based its claim based on a consulting relationship with a noted pediatrician, on its sampling program with over 300 pediatricians’ offices, and on an independent expert panel. NAD concluded that this did not rise to the level of support required to substantiate the “pediatrician recommended” and “recommended by pediatricians nationwide” claims. Accordingly, NAD recommended that these claims be discontinued.
Mommy’s Bliss agreed to comply with 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.