National Advertising Division Finds ACCO Brands’ Coronavirus and COVID-19 Elimination Claims Substantiated with Modified Testing Disclosure

New York, NY – February 2, 2023 – Following an inquiry by the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs, ACCO Brands USA, LLC modified the disclosure used in connection with a health-related efficacy claim on the ACCO Brands website that its TruSens Air Purifier is “effective at eliminating 99.9% of the airborne coronavirus or COVID-19” to clarify the material limitations of the claim, which NAD found was supported as qualified.

Through its routine monitoring program, NAD challenged the claim that:

“TruSens eliminates 99.99% of airborne coronavirus*” (*Results from independent third-party testing using aerosolized airborne concentration of human coronavirus 229E over a two-hour period in a sealed chamber. HCoV-299e is a well-established surrogate for SARS-CoV-2) next to a picture of the SARS-CoV-2 virus being filtered through the TruSens device.

NAD’s inquiry focused on whether consumers who viewed the advertiser’s website would reasonably take away the message that the TruSens Air Purifier is effective in killing 99.99% of SARS-CoV-2 virus without seeing the disclosure that testing of the product was on a coronavirus surrogate. 

Health and safety concerns are a top priority for NAD’s monitoring efforts, with particular attention focused on express or implied claims that advertised products can protect consumers against COVID-19. Claims as to the efficacy of air purifiers against SARS-CoV-2 during an ongoing pandemic are especially impactful because consumers cannot verify the truthfulness of such claims for themselves.

During the proceeding, the advertiser modified the disclosure to state: “Results from independent third-party testing using HCoV-229E, a human coronavirus with similar shape and size to COVID-19, which was aerosolized over a two-hour period in a sealed chamber. HCoV-229E is a well-established surrogate for COVID-19.”  

NAD determined that ACCO Brands’ testing provided a reasonable basis for the challenged claim, “TruSens eliminates 99.99% of airborne coronavirus” together with a clear and conspicuous disclosure of the material limitations of the claim (testing on a surrogate and length of time to achieve the result) in similar size, text, and font in close proximity to the claim.  NAD also found that ACCO Brands products effectively filter SARS-Cov-2, providing additional support for the advertiser’s claim that “TruSens Air Purifier is effective at eliminating 99.99% of airborne coronavirus or COVID-19.”

In its advertiser statement, ACCO Brands thanked NAD for “its careful and professional review of the substantiation for TruSens’ claim to eliminate 99.99% of airborne coronavirus” and stated that it “will clarify the disclosures accompanying the claim in keeping with the recommendations expressed in NAD’s decision.”

All BBB National Programs case decision summaries can be found in the case decision library. For the full text of NAD, NARB, and CARU decisions, subscribe to the online archive.

 

Subscribe to the Ad Law Insights or Privacy Initiatives newsletters for an exclusive monthly analysis and insider perspectives on the latest trends and case decisions in advertising law and data privacy.

 

 

 

 

Latest Decisions

Decision

National Advertising Division Recommends Blueprint Test Preparation Discontinue Certain MCAT Score Improvement Claims

New York, NY – April 22, 2024 – The National Advertising Division recommended Blueprint Test Preparation discontinue certain express and implied claims made in connection with its four MCAT preparation courses, including claims that Blueprint students raise their MCAT scores by 15 or 13 points on average.

Read the Decision Summary
Decision

National Advertising Division Recommends The Princeton Review Discontinue Point Increase Claims for MCAT Test Preparation Services

New York, NY – April 18, 2024 – In a Fast-Track SWIFT challenge, the National Advertising Division recommended that The Princeton Review (TPR) discontinue claims that its students “Score a 515+ on the MCAT or add 15 points depending on your starting score. Guaranteed or your money back.”

Read the Decision Summary
Decision

Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council Recommends Trades of Hope Discontinue Salesforce Member Earnings Claims

McLean, VA – April 17, 2024 – The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) recommended that Trades of Hope discontinue certain earnings claims made by salesforce members on Facebook and YouTube. 

Read the Decision Summary
Decision

National Advertising Division Recommends Lily of the Desert Nutraceuticals Discontinue “100% Pure Avocado Oil” Claim for Tropical Plantation Avocado Oil

New York, NY – April 15, 2024 – The National Advertising Division recommended that Lily of the Desert Nutraceuticals discontinue the claim “100% Pure Avocado Oil” for its Tropical Plantation Avocado Oil and avoid conveying the unsupported message that the product is 100% pure avocado...

Read the Decision Summary