BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Recommends P&G Discontinue Claims Made for Swiffer Sweeper Following Challenge by Libman Broom Maker

New York, NY – Jan. 13, 2015 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that The Procter & Gamble Company, maker of Swiffer Sweeper products, discontinue superior performance claims challenged by The Libman Company, maker of Libman brooms.

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

Libman challenged advertising claims made in-store, in Internet advertising and on

product packaging, including:

  • “Swiffer Sweeper Leaves your floors up to 3X cleaner than a broom**” **on dirt, dust and hair
  • “Thicker cloths leave floors up to 3X cleaner. **”) ** Than a broom on dirt, dust and hair.
  • “DRY CLOTHS LEAVE FLOORS UP TO 3X CLEANER ** vs. broom on dirt, dust and hair.”
  • Swiffer Sweeper “Pick[s] up 50% more dirt, dust, and hair than with a broom.”

The challenger contended that the advertiser’s claims that its Swiffer Sweeper cleans floors “50% more” and “leaves floors up to 3X cleaner” than brooms on “dirt, dust and hair” were unsupported and argued that the advertiser’s testing was flawed.

The advertiser argued that it tailored its comparative claims to the specific smaller debris on which the Sweeper purportedly performed better than a broom—dirt, dust and hair, or DDH.

Following its review of the evidence in the record, NAD determined that the challenged claims, which appeared prominently in the challenged advertising and on product packaging, conveyed the unsupported message that the Swiffer Sweeper significantly outperforms all brooms on all household surfaces, a message that was not supported by the evidence in the record.  The advertiser, NAD noted, attempted to qualify this claim with the disclosure “on dirt, dust & hair,” but the testing offered to support the claim, even with the qualification, was too limited.

Notably, NAD said, the advertiser tested only two brooms. There was no evidence in the record that the two brooms represent or perform similarly to the vast majority of the brooms in the marketplace. Further, the advertiser tested only hardwood, vinyl, and ceramic tile. While Swiffer Sweeper may not be intended to be used on all surfaces, the challenged advertising failed to limit the claim to any of the tested surfaces.

Even if the challenged claims were qualified to specify the brooms against which the advertiser tested, NAD had concerns that consumers would not understand the material characteristics of the advertiser’s test soil, which was sifted to eliminate larger particles. Further, NAD was troubled by the small test area used in its comparative performance study – 9 ft2 – which constitutes a small fraction of the size of the rooms in which the Swiffer Sweeper or a broom would typically be used.

NAD found the advertiser’s evidence to be materially flawed and recommended that P&G discontinue the challenged claims.

P&G, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company appreciated NAD’s “careful review of the advertising and support in this case.  While disappointed by the recommendation, P&G is committed to self review of advertising.  The company will discontinue the challenged claims and will consider the NAD’s recommendations in future advertising.”