BBB National Programs Archive

NARB Panel Recommends Clorox Discontinue Claims Challenged by OxiClean Maker Church & Dwight

New York, NY – Oct. 28, 2015  – A five-member panel of the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) has recommended that The Clorox Company discontinue advertising claims challenged by Church & Dwight Co., the maker of OxiClean White Revive.

NARB is the appellate unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

The claims, made in television, Internet and print advertising, were initially challenged by Church & Dwight before the National Advertising Division, an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation.

The advertising featured a side-by-side comparison of two t-shirts with large spaghetti stains that were washed with Clorox Bleach or OxiClean added to the detergent; the visual showed that the stain was removed from the t-shirt washed with Clorox Bleach but was not completely removed from the t-shirt washed with OxiClean. A super on all ads stated that the products were used “as directed through the wash.”

The following express claims were made in the challenged advertising:

  • “Clorox eliminates stains better than OxiClean”
  • “Clorox eliminates stains better”

NAD determined that the challenged claims reasonably conveyed the message that Clorox removes all stains, including tough stains, better than OxiClean. NAD determined that the t-shirt test as well as other tests offered by Clorox did not provide a reasonable basis to support this message because they did not test OxiClean in accordance with manufacturer directions that tough stains should be pre-soaked before washing. The NAD recommended that Clorox discontinue both the advertised side-by-side t-shirt comparison as well as its claim that Clorox eliminates stains better than OxiClean. Clorox appealed NAD’s findings and recommendation.

Following its review, the panel recommended that the challenged advertising be discontinued.

The panel noted that its decision does not preclude Clorox from truthfully advertising that, unlike OxiClean, Clorox Bleach requires no pre-soak for tough stains.

In addition, the panel said, its decision does not preclude Clorox from truthfully advertising test results where OxiClean is used “through the wash” without pre-soaking tough stains if the advertisement clearly and conspicuously (a) identifies OxiClean’s use instructions for tough stains,  (b) makes it clear that OxiClean was tested without any pre-soaking, and (c) narrows any claim that Clorox Bleach removes stains better than OxiClean to washes where clothes are not pre-soaked.

Clorox, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company, “as a supporter of self-regulation … will take the full findings of the Panel into account when developing future advertising,” the company said.