BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Recommends Dyson Modify Suction Claims Challenged by SharkNinja & Finds Dyson Can Support ‘Cleaner Air’ Claim; Dyson to Appeal

New York, NY – April 9, 2018 – The National Advertising Division has determined that Dyson, Inc., can support a “cleaner air” claim made in connection with the HEPA filter on the V8 cordless vacuum cleaners.

NAD recommended, however, that the advertiser modify or discontinue other challenged claims, including the claims that the V8 machines provide the “most powerful suction” and “40 minutes of runtime.” Dyson said it would appeal NAD’s adverse findings to the National Advertising Review Board (NARB).

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

The claims at issue were challenged by SharkNinja Operating LLC, a competing maker of vacuum cleaners. The Dyson V8 Absolute cordless vacuum competes directly against the Shark IONFlex DuoClean Cordless Ultra-Light Vacuum. Both products are powered by rechargeable batteries and both have two operating modes – extended runtime and “max” suction power.

The claims at issue – featured on product packaging and in online and video advertisements – included:
• The Dyson V8 has “the Most Powerful Suction”
• “Suction power … 115 AW”
• “The most powerful cordless vacuum”
• “Runtime … 40 mins”
• “Captures allergens and expels cleaner air than the air you breathe”
• “New battery chemistry”
NAD also considered whether the advertising implied that:
• Dyson’s V8 offers the most powerful suction in all operational modes.
• Dyson’s V8 Absolute and Animal models offer 115 air watts of suction power in all operational modes.
• Dyson’s V8 delivers more powerful suction than all other vacuum cleaners.
• Dyson’s V8 delivers 40 minutes of runtime at the most powerful suction.
• Dyson’s V8 can simultaneously deliver 115 or 155 air watts of suction power and 40 minutes of runtime.
• Dyson’s V8 delivers 40 minutes of runtime in all modes and all configurations.
Following its review of the evidence in the record, NAD determined that Dyson’s unqualified “most powerful suction” claim reasonably conveyed the message that the Dyson V8 has more powerful suction than all other cordless vacuums regardless of the mode in which it is operated.

NAD recommended that Dyson modify its claim that the V8 has the “most powerful suction” to disclose, as part of the main claim, that it has the “most powerful suction” in “max” mode. NAD determined that Dyson limited its “most powerful suction” claim to cordless vacuums as the claim appeared on product packaging but recommended that it modify its website advertising to limit its claim to cordless vacuums. NAD further recommended that Dyson modify any superior suction claims made for the V8 Absolute and the V8 Animal to make it clear that the claim is about the V8 product line rather than either individual model.
NAD then focused on a key issue – the length of “runtime” offered by the Dyson V8.

The V8 only provides 40 minutes of runtime in limited circumstances – when using the hand vacuum in extended runtime mode, with the crevice tool, combination tool or the mini soft dusting brush. NAD found that the evidence in the record did not provide a reasonable basis to support a claim that an appreciable number of consumers using the V8 for the typical household vacuuming are likely to experience 40 minutes of runtime. Further, NAD noted, Dyson claims 40 minutes of runtime in some contexts with the “up to” modifier and in other contexts makes an unqualified “40 minute” runtime claim.

Based on the foregoing, NAD recommended that Dyson discontinue the challenged “up to 40 minutes” and “40 minutes” runtime claims for the Dyson V8. NAD noted that nothing in its decision precludes the advertiser from more narrowly and truthfully claiming that the Dyson V8 provides “up to 40 minutes of runtime” at the handvac in extended runtime mode when using the crevice tool, the combination tool, or the mini soft dusting brush. In doing so, however, NAD cautions the advertiser avoid making such a claim in conjunction with any depiction of the V8 configured with a motorized attachment.

NAD recommended that Dyson discontinue the claim that the V8 has “new” battery chemistry, given that the V8 products have been available since at least September 2016.
Finally, NAD found that Dyson provided a reasonable basis for the claim that the V8’s HEPA filter “expels cleaner air than the air you breathe.”

Dyson, in its advertiser’s statement, said it intends to appeal NAD’s decision to the NARB.
Dyson said that while it appreciated NAD’s finding regarding the “cleaner air” claim, the company “respectfully disagrees with NAD’s other findings, which Dyson does not believe reflect the appropriate standard for substantiating the claims in question. Dyson would like an independent NARB panel to review NAD’s decision, and Dyson therefore will appeal the adverse findings in this case.”

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.