BBB National Programs Archive
NARB Panel Recommends P&G Discontinue Claim that ‘Easy Ups’ Training Pants are ‘The Easiest Way to Underwear’
New York, NY – July 1 , 2017 – A panel of the National Advertising Review Board has recommended that The Procter & Gamble Company discontinue the challenged advertising claim that “Easy Ups” training pants represent “the easiest way to underwear.”
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 reviewed by the NARB panel were initially challenged by Kimberly-Clark Global Sales LLC, the maker of Huggies Pull-Up training pants, before the National Advertising Division (NAD), which recommended that P&G discontinue certain claims for “Easy Ups.”
P&G, arguing that the claim “easiest way to underwear” was puffery, appealed NAD’s recommendation that the claim be discontinued.
The NARB panel determined that “the easiest way to underwear” claim, in the context of the challenged advertising, reasonably conveyed a message that “Easy Ups” get children to their first real underwear easier and faster than competing brands.
Neither party offered consumer-perception evidence with respect to the claims in the challenged commercials. In the absence of such evidence, the panel steps into the shoes of reasonable consumers to determine the messages reasonably conveyed by the commercials.
The panel noted that it appreciated the intended message of the challenged television commercial and in-store display – that children would see “Easy Ups” as real underwear, while parents know “Easy Ups” are training pants. However, the panel found that the advertising conveyed a broader message with respect to potty-training.
With respect to a challenged in-store display, the panel found that a side-by-side picture showing real underwear and “Easy Ups” training underwear contributed to the message that “to underwear” refers to the goal of getting children to wear real underwear.
The panel determined that the challenged “the easiest way to underwear” claim reasonably conveyed a message with respect to Easy Ups’ superior function and/or ease of use in getting through the potty-training process and achieving the ultimate goal of children wearing real underwear as compared to competing training pant brands.
NAD, in the underlying case, found that the reasonably conveyed message that “Easy Ups” would get children to underwear easier and faster was objectively provable and thus not puffery. The panel agreed that “the easiest way to underwear” claim, in the context of the challenged advertising, was not puffery and recommended that P&G discontinue the claim.
P&G, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company would comply with NARB’s decision.
“P&G strongly believes its playful tagline “The Easiest Way to Underwear” is classic puffery, a play on its product name for which the consumer would not expect objective evidence and which is incapable of objective measurement. P&G nonetheless appreciates the panel’s time and consideration,” the company said.