BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Recommends Spectrum Brands Discontinue 2 YouTube Commercials for Rayovac FUSION AA Batteries Following Energizer Challenge

New York, NY – Nov. 9, 2016 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Spectrum Brands, Inc., discontinue two YouTube commercials for the company’s Rayovac FUSION AA Batteries, following a challenge by Energizer Holdings, Inc., the maker of competing Energizer MAX batteries.

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 commercials feature “Tim” and his family on a camping vacation; in “Road Trip” a child’s handheld device loses power on what appears to be the first day of a two-week trip. In the second, “Camping,” Tim steps away from his tent in the middle of the night to urinate and his flashlight loses power. In both commercials, Tim recalls his purchase of Energizer MAX batteries, instead of Rayovac FUSION AA batteries.

In the videos, the child’s gaming device and Tim’s flashlight both run out of battery power and the flashbacks in each spot depict Tim deciding to purchase Energizer rather than Rayovac batteries along with the tagline “Batteries Matter. Choose Rayovac.”

The challenger argued that the videos created the overall false net impression “that all Rayovac batteries last longer than all Energizer MAX batteries.”

NAD, in its decision, said that the “crux of the issues … is whether the challenged videos convey a message that is broader than the evidence supports: (1) that all Rayovac batteries, including ordinary Rayovac Alkaline batteries, last longer than all Energizer MAX batteries, if not all Energizer batteries (the “Rayovac Lasts Longer claim”); (2) that Energizer MAX batteries are not long-lasting and provide power for only a few hours or less (the “Short Duration claim”), and (3) that Energizer MAX batteries are somehow defective and run out of power abruptly.”

In determining whether a commercial conveys a line claim – a claim that reasonably communicates that the performance promised is true for all of the products in the line – NAD considers a variety of factors.  Specifically, NAD looks at whether there are general brand references in the advertisement, the copy effectively limits the applicability of the claim, only one variety of the product is shown, and there is a beauty shot of the products that may serve to reinforce the extended applicability of the claims.

Following its review of the advertiser’s videos and consideration of the parties’ respective arguments, NAD concluded that the Spectrum’s videos reasonably convey an unsupported line claim: that all Rayovac batteries – not just the advertiser’s Fusion AA batteries – last longer than all Energizer batteries – not simply Energizer MAX AA batteries. NAD recommended that the current executions of the challenged videos be discontinued.

Further, NAD recommended that any general brand references be discontinued so as not to give rise to a line claim.

NAD noted that nothing in its decision precludes the advertiser from using existing footage for a more limited comparative superiority claim—in the body of the advertisement rather than a disclosure—regarding Rayovac Fusion AA batteries as compared to Energizer MAX AA batteries.

Spectrum Brands, in its advertiser’s statement, thanked the NAD for its careful consideration of the advertising and the substantiation in this matter and said it would “comply with its decision and 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.