BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Reviews ‘Geomean’ Evidence: Recommends Dyson Modify, Discontinue Claims for 2 Vacuum Cleaners; Finds Certain Claims Supported

New York, NY – Nov. 18, 2014 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Dyson, Inc., modify or discontinue certain advertising claims for the company’s DC65 corded upright vacuum cleaner and its DC59, a cordless stick vacuum.

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

The claims at issue were challenged by Euro-Pro Operating LLC, the maker of competing vacuum products. Euro-Pro challenged advertising for both the Dyson DC65, a corded upright, and the DC59, a cordless stick vacuum, arguing that Dyson’s claims misrepresented the comparative performance of the Dyson vacuums as compared to other vacuums in the marketplace, including Euro-Pro vacuums.

Specifically, Euro-Pro argued that Dyson’s claims that the DC65, “cleans better than any other vacuum across carpets and hard floors” and “Twice the suction of any other vacuum,” as well as the claim for the DC59, “sucks up as much dust as a conventional vacuum. Without the hassle of a cord,” were false and misleading, and falsely disparaged Euro-Pro’s competing vacuum cleaners.

Dyson argued that its advertisements for the DC65 and DC59 focused on the importance of multi-floor cleaning performance and directed consumers’ attention to how a vacuum performs across all flooring, including carpets, flat hard floors, and hard floors with crevices. Dyson maintained that the express language and the associated imagery of its advertisements made clear that it was promoting overall, multi-surface performance.

Dyson contended that its testing established the overall superior performance of the DC65 based upon aggregated performance scores six floor surface types.

In this case, NAD considered whether the aggregate results of standardized tests could support Dyson’s superiority claims and whether a disclosure, identifying the industry tests used by Dyson to calculate its geometric average, or “geomean,” provided adequate information to consumers.

Following its review of the evidence in the record, NAD determined that the claim, “cleans better than any other vacuum across carpets and hard floors,” could be reasonably understood to mean that the Dyson DC65 performed better than all other vacuums on every surface tested. NAD determined the advertiser’s evidence did not support this broad “superior cleaning on all surfaces” message and recommended the claim be discontinued.

NAD further recommended that the advertiser modify its claim, “twice the suction of any other vacuum” to avoid conveying the message that the DC65’s suction power enables it to remove more dirt from carpets than competitor vacuums – a message that was not supported by the evidence in the record.

In considering claims made for the DC59 cordless stick vacuum, NAD determined that the claims, “Sucks up as much dust as a corded vacuum,” and “With suction like this, who needs a conventional vacuum?,” could reasonably convey the unsupported message that the DC59 performs at parity with conventional vacuums on any surface, and recommended that they be discontinued.

NAD further recommended that a demonstration depicting the cleaning ability of the DC59 be discontinued, as it conveyed a misleading message about the cleaning ability of competitor vacuums. Finally, NAD determined that Dyson substantiated its claim that the DC59 has “more suction at the cleaner head” than Euro-Pro’s Shark NV500.

Dyson, in its advertiser’s statement, said it “will take NAD’s other findings into consideration in its future advertising. As ever, Dyson supports the self-regulatory process and thanks NAD for its time and careful consideration.”