National Advertising Division Finds Jukebox Soap “Natural” Claims Supported; Dr. Squatch Appeals Recommendation to Discontinue or Modify Other Claims

New York, NY – August 24, 2023 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs determined that Dr. Squatch, LLC had a reasonable basis for its “natural” claims for Jukebox Soap and that the claim “no harsh chemicals” was supported. However, NAD recommended that Dr. Squatch: 

  • Discontinue a series of claims characterizing competing products as “detergents” or modify them to avoid conveying the message that competing bars and body washes are harsh.
  • Discontinue the claim “made with no harsh chemicals” or modify it to better fit the evidence.
  • Modify certain challenged claims to avoid conveying the message that Jukebox is a women-run brand.

 

Dr. Squatch’s Jukebox brand distinguishes itself from competing bars and cleansers as being “real” soap formulated by cold process saponification and made with natural ingredients.

The claims at issue, which appeared in Jukebox email marketing, product packaging, and on Jukebox’s website and social media pages were challenged by Unilever U.S., Inc., manufacturer of Dove brand cleansers and body washes.

 

Natural Claims

NAD concluded that Dr. Squatch provided a reasonable basis for its “natural” claims because its evidence indicates that all but a fractional amount of the ingredients in Jukebox soaps are natural or naturally derived and that the saponification process involves minimal processing. 

 

Detergent Claims

NAD found that Dr. Squatch’s designation of competing bars and body washes as “synthetic detergents” is technically accurate under the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) classification of skin cleansers. However, because consumers might not be familiar with the FDA’s technical classification and would rely instead on the common understanding of the term “detergent,” NAD concluded that the challenged claims may reasonably convey the misleading message that competing products, including Dove, are harsh and damaging – a message not supported by the evidence in the record.

Further, NAD determined that the addition of the phrase “they are classified by the FDA as synthetic detergents” in the claim is not likely to limit the reasonable associations with the words “detergent” and “synthetic detergent.”

Therefore, NAD recommended that Dr. Squatch discontinue its “detergent” claims or modify them to avoid conveying the message that competing bars and body washes are harsh

 

“Made with No Harsh Chemicals”

NAD concluded that although no traces of lye remain in the finished Jukebox product, the use of lye in the saponification process renders the claim “made with no harsh chemicals” inaccurate. NAD therefore recommended that the claim be discontinued or modified to better fit the evidence.

At the same time, NAD determined that a similar claim, “no harsh chemicals,” which appears on Jukebox packaging in a monadic context, does not convey the implied message that competing bars and washes contain harsh chemicals or are otherwise damaging or unsafe. NAD found that the “no harsh chemicals” claim was supported and truthfully highlights the absence of harsh chemicals in the finished product. 

 

Claims about Jukebox’s Leadership

NAD determined that the statement “Who runs the world? Girls” in conjunction with the statement “From our world-class natural perfumers and in-house artisan soap makers to our bubbly leadership, we’re a band of music & soap-lovin’ ladies” did not convey the message that Jukebox was a women-owned company. However, NAD recommended that those statements be modified to avoid conveying the message that Jukebox is a women-run brand.

During the proceeding Dr. Squatch agreed to permanently discontinue a number of other challenged claims. Therefore, NAD did not review these claims on the merits.

In its advertiser statement, Dr. Squatch stated that it will appeal NAD’s decision regarding Jukebox’s detergent claims because it disagrees with NAD’s interpretation of the term detergent and “maintains that each of its claims respecting synthetic detergents is truthful and non-misleading.” Dr. Squatch will also appeal NAD’s recommendation to modify the Jukebox advertising to avoid conveying the message that Jukebox is a women-run brand.

Unilever will cross-appeal NAD’s decision with respect to the “natural” claim.   

Appeals of NAD decisions are made to BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the appellate-level truth-in-advertising body of BBB National Programs.

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. Per NAD Procedures, this release shall not be used for advertising or promotional purposes.

 

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