BBB National Programs Archive

 

NAD Refers Advertising From North American Green To FTC For Review

New York, NY – April 8, 2009 – The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has referred advertising by North American Green/Mulch & Seed Innovations for HydraMatrixCX2 to the Federal Trade Commission for further review following NAD’s third compliance review for the hydraulically-applied mulch and erosion control product.

NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, initially recommended in June 2008 that North American Green modify or discontinue certain claims for the product, following a challenge by Profile Products, the maker of competing erosion-control products.

In its initial decision, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue general claims that refer to the cotton content of the product, as well as the unqualified claims that HydraCX2 is “environmentally friendly” and “cotton is totally green.”  NAD recommended the advertiser modify or discontinue additional claims, including water-holding capacity claims, claims related to the product’s carbon-to-nitrogen ratio and certain product superiority claims.

NAD re-examined the advertising in July 2008 and noted that while the advertiser had taken steps to comply with NAD’s recommendations, further modifications were necessary, namely referring to “reclaimed cotton plant material” in its specification sheets and ensuring that the product content portion of the sheets state that that HydraCX2 contains “straw/reclaimed cotton plant material.”  The advertiser agreed to take NAD’s additional recommendations into consideration.

In September 2008, NAD commenced a second compliance review after the challenger informed NAD of the advertiser’s distribution of non-compliant materials.  While NAD appreciated the advertiser taking immediate steps to correct the problem, it warned that any non-compliance going forward would result in immediate referral to the appropriate government agency. 

In March 2009, the challenger notified NAD of further noncompliant advertising, specifically a press release on the advertiser’s Web site in which HydraCX2 is described as a “cotton hydromulch,” “cotton-based” and as a “Cotton Fiber Reinforced Matrix” and references to “100-percent natural.”  The challenger also identified a specification sheet that was provided to a distributor which fails to accurately reflect the product’s contents. 

NAD noted in its decision that it “is extremely concerned” that non-compliant advertising continues to appear in the marketplace. As a result, NAD has referred the matter to the appropriate government agency for possible law enforcement action pursuant to section 4.1(C)(ii)(b)(2) of the NAD/NARB Procedures.