BBB National Programs Archive

 

NAD Reviews Summit Vetpharm’s Claims, Following Bayer Challenge

New York, NY – Sept. 30, 2008 – The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that Summit VetPharm, LLC (SVP) discontinue or modify certain claims for its Vectra and Vectra 3D flea, tick, and mosquito protection products for dogs and cats.

NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, examined print and Internet advertisements following a challenge by Bayer HealthCare, LLC, a manufacturer of the competing K9 Advantix and Advantage products.  Among certain others listed in NAD’s decision, the following claims were at issue in this challenge:

Vectra 3D vs. K9 Advantix:

For Superior Protection, They [your dog/cat] Look to You, Their Veterinarian.

     Fleas: 

  • Bar graph shows that, according to advertiser’s studies, Vectra 3D is more effective against fleas than K9 Advantix at two and six hours following treatment  
  • Brochure: “[o]nly Vectra3D” “[k]ills 96% of fleas on your dog within 6 hours and up to 100% in 12 hours.”
  • Chart comparing the features and benefits of Vectra 3D and K9 Advantix and claiming that K9 Advantix is ineffective against the development of fleas, flea eggs, pupae, and larvae.  
  • Brochure claiming that “[o]nly Vectra 3D” “[r]epels and kills all stages of fleas” and “[k]ills fleas before they can lay eggs.”  

     Ticks: 

  • Bar graph showing that Vectra 3D is more effective against ticks than K9 Advantix at 2, 6, and 12 hours following treatment.  
  • Brochure: “[o]nly Vectra 3D” “[r]epels and kills 4 species of ticks” and “[r]epels and kills ticks that may transmit” various diseases.

     Mosquitoes

  • Brochure: “[o]nly Vectra 3D” “[r]epels and kills 3 species of mosquitoes’ and “[o]nly Vectra 3D” “[r]epels and kills mosquitoes that may transmit disease, such as heartworm disease, in dogs.”

Vectra vs. Advantage:

  • Vectra is more effective against fleas than Advantage at 2, 6, and 12 hours following treatment, and thus provides “more complete relief.”

  • A pie chart showing that pet owners believe that Vectra is superior to Advantage in terms of a cat’s having more normal “behavior/ well-being/ habits” and “appearance” at 24 hours following treatment.

NAD determined that the advertiser did not sufficiently support the comparative superiority and exclusivity claims with respect to flea, tick, and mosquito protection and recommended that the advertisements touting these claims be discontinued.  NAD further concluded that the evidence did not support the advertiser’s monadic claims of effectiveness at killing fleas at two and six hours and also recommended that these claims be discontinued.

NAD determined that the advertiser did provide a reasonable basis for its claim that its product prevents the development of fleas, flea eggs, pupae, and larvae. 

In addition to the claims mentioned above, the advertiser made the following exclusivity claims, which NAD recommended should be modified or discontinued:  Only Vectra 3D: Kills 96% of fleas on your dogs within 6 hours and up to 100% in 12 hours of application; Repels and kills all stages of fleas; Kills fleas before they can lay eggs;  Repels and kills 4 species of ticks (followed by a list of the four species by their colloquial and scientific names); Repels and kills 3 species of mosquitoes; Repels and kills 3 species of mosquitoes; Repels and kills mosquitoes that may transmit disease, such as heartworm disease, in dogs; and remains effective after bathing. 

NAD further recommended that the advertiser’s superiority claims, “For Superior Protection, They [your dog/cat] Look to You, Their Veterinarian”, and “The Best Protection Can Only Come From Your Veterinarian” be discontinued and that its claim, “Vectra 3D outperforms the competition” be modified.  

Finally, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue its comparative superiority claim: that “[i]n side-by-side comparisons, Vectra outperformed the two leading feline treatments at two, six, and 12 hours post treatment, in terms of adulticidal speed of kill.” 

In its advertiser’s statement, SVP noted that it is pleased that NAD found a reasonable basis for its claim that Vectra 3D repels and kills all stages of fleas.  However, SVP also stated that some of NAD’s recommendations for modifications in the marketing materials relate to materials that are no longer in use and/or claims that SVP modified early in the NAD review process in a good faith effort to address Bayer’s objections.  While SVP disagrees with certain of NAD’s findings, the company said it believes that the claims NAD suggested to modify or discontinue are not material to its marketing efforts and will make changes accordingly.