BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Recommends that SharkNinja Modify Certain Claims for SharkNinja IONFlex Cordless Vacuums, Finds Certain Claims Supported

New York, NY – Feb. 8, 2018 – The National Advertising Division has determined that SharkNinja Operating LLC can support certain challenged claims for the company’s IONFlex vacuum cleaner, but recommended SharkNinja modify certain advertising.

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

Shark launched IONFlex DuoClean Cordless Ultra-Light Vacuum to compete with the Dyson V8 Absolute cordless 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 in an infomercial, at the SharkNinja website and on product packaging – were challenged by Dyson and included:

  • The Shark IONFlex has more suction power overall than the Dyson V8.
  • The Shark IONFlex’s warranty is more than double the length of the warranty on the Dyson V8 Absolute.

During the course of NAD’s inquiry, the advertiser informed NAD in writing that, for reasons unrelated to Dyson’s challenge, it had elected to permanently discontinue its claims that the Shark IONFlex vacuum offers “Anti-Allergen Complete Seal,” and related dust and allergen claims.

Separately, Dyson withdrew its challenge to Shark’s pick-up demonstrations in the infomercial after Shark provided information about the demonstrations. NAD reviewed Shark’s evidence and determined that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis for the Shark IONFlex demonstrations as the IONFlex could in fact perform as depicted.

NAD then turned its attention to the key issues in this case – whether the challenged infomercial and other advertising conveyed the message that the Shark IONFlex has more suction power overall than the Dyson V8 Absolute, and whether the challenged infomercial conveyed the message that Shark offers more than double the warranty length of Dyson on the batteries that are provided with the IONFlex vacuum.

NAD noted in its decision that Shark’s product provides more suction power in its extended runtime mode, while Dyson’s product provides more suction in max power mode. Because Shark and Dyson manufacture similar products, the advertiser argued that each should be free to promote the distinct advantages of its product without reference to the other’s advantages.  Dyson did not dispute that Shark has a reasonable basis for a claim that the Shark IONFlex has more suction power than the Dyson V8 when both vacuums are operated in their extended runtime modes. The question before NAD was whether the challenged advertising reasonably conveyed the message that the Shark IONFlex had superior suction “overall” and, if so, whether that claim is supported.

Following its review of the evidence in the record, NAD recommended that Shark modify its infomercial to explain that there are two modes of operation, extended runtime mode and “max” mode, so that consumers viewing any of Shark’s stand-alone or comparative displays of the IONFlex’s suction power have the sufficient context to understand that Shark’s claim of suction superiority is limited to extended runtime mode.

NAD also recommended that Shark modify certain voiceovers during the infomercial to include an audio disclosure that Shark’s superior suction power claim is limited to extended runtime mode.

NAD determined that the suction power claim with its accompanying disclosures as presented on product packaging was substantiated but recommended that the accompanying disclosures on website advertising be modified so that the disclosure immediately follows the main claim.

With respect to Shark’s claim that the IONFlex has more than “double” the warranty than the Dyson V8 Absolute, NAD recommended that Shark modify its disclosures in the infomercial to make clear that the “double” claim is applicable to the vacuum unit only and not the battery.

SharkNinja, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company “agrees 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.