BBB National Programs Archive
NAD Recommends Too Faced Cosmetics Discontinue ‘1,944% More Volume’ Claim for Better Than Sex Mascara, Advertiser to Appeal
New York, NY – Nov. 8, 2017 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Too Faced Cosmetics, LLC, discontinue the “1,944% more volume” claim – and before and after photographs – made on product packaging and online videos for the company’s Better Than Sex original and waterproof mascara. The company said it will appeal NAD’s decision.
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 claims at issue were challenged by Benefit Cosmetics, LLC, the maker of They’re Real! Mascara.
As an initial matter, the advertiser represented in writing that it had elected to permanently discontinue the online HSN videos that included the following claims:
- “1944% more volume!*”
- “*results observed in a clinical study”
- “Don’t miss out on the mind-blowing mascara that gives your lashes 1,944% more volume.”
- “Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara is a sweat-proof, waterproof, play-proof mascara that gives you 1,944% more volume**.”
- “**Clinical study results”
- “In a recent study of 40 lashes after 3 coats of Better Than Sex Mascara there was a 1,944% improvement in the appearance.”
- “1,944% increase in the appearance of lash volume*”
- “*as observed in a study after applying three coats.”
- “This has got a claim on it that I have never in my life in my career heard any other mascara say…. This is a study of 40 women after 3 coats of Better Than Sex, that is the percentage, 1944% improvement in the appearance.”
- “1944% improvement in the appearance of your lashes, that’s crazy, I’ve never seen that number, that statistic.”
- “[T]hat is the truth, it is 1944% it’s crazy but it’s true.”
The advertiser also advised NAD in writing that it agreed to permanently discontinue all references to the increased volume claim being based on a “clinical study.”
The advertiser argued, though, that both its “1,944% More Volume” claim and its before and after photographs were properly substantiated. In support of the “1,944%” claim, the advertiser provided confidential testing to NAD. According to the advertiser, an experienced, independent testing facility conducted volume testing on one tube of BTS original mascara and one tube of BTS waterproof mascara during 2013 and 2015, respectively. In both studies, human lashes were coated with three coats of BTS mascara and objective measurements using a digital caliper/micrometer were taken at baseline and after each successive coat. According to the test results, following each coating, the mean volume showed a statistically significant increase over the prior mean. After three coats of mascara, the mean lash volume increased 1,944%, as compared to the mean volume at baseline.
NAD noted in its decision that it was troubled by the advertiser’s test methodology and concerned about the consumer relevance of the test methodology and results.
NAD next considered whether the advertiser’s product depictions were properly supported. The challenged product packaging displays two photographs, labeled “Before” and “After,” which are located directly beneath the “1,944% more volume” claim. The “Before” photograph depicts a woman’s short, sparse eyelashes devoid of any mascara; the “After” photograph shows dramatically transformed lashes that appear lengthier, well-defined, and much more voluminous. In YouTube advertisements, spokespeople are depicted with BTS mascara applied to one set of eyelashes while their other lashes are conspicuously sparse and bare.
NAD noted that the advertiser’s “before” and “after” images reasonably convey a message that consumers using the product will achieve similar eyelash volume when they apply the product according to its use instructions. Without reliable evidence in the record demonstrating the volume consumers can expect to achieve when applying BTS Mascaras, NAD concluded that the performance message conveyed by the advertiser’s “before” and “after” images was not supported.
NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue its “1,944% more volume” claim and also recommended that the advertiser discontinue its “before” and “after” images.
Too Faced Cosmetics, in its advertiser’s statement, said it “believes that NAD reached the wrong results in concluding that Too Faced should discontinue its 1,944 percent more-volume claim and its Before-and-After photographs, and designates both of these issues for NARB review on appeal.”
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.