HiSmile Appeals National Advertising Division Recommendation to Discontinue Certain Claims for its Teeth Whitening Products

New York, NY – April 11, 2024 – In a challenge brought by The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G), BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division recommended that HiSmile PTY discontinue certain safety and comparative claims for its teeth whitening products, PAP+ Strips and V34 Color Correcting Serum, including: 

  • Claims that peroxide-containing whitening products are “painful” or cause pain, break down and impact gums and teeth, or “damage” gums and teeth.
  • “Create an at-home whitening treatment that’s just as effective as hydrogen peroxide.”
  • “PAP similarly reacts to tooth stains.”

 

The parties are competing manufacturers of teeth whitening products. HiSmile makes tooth concealer products and teeth whitening products containing PAP, while P&G manufactures Crest Whitestrips, which contain hydrogen peroxide.

 

Safety Claims 

The National Advertising Division (NAD) determined that some of the challenged claims regarding the safety of hydrogen peroxide convey the message that peroxide-containing teeth whiteners, such as P&G’s Crest Whitestrips, are “painful” or cause pain, break down, and impact gums and teeth, or “damage” gums and teeth. NAD concluded that these claims are not supported by the evidence and therefore recommended that they be discontinued. NAD also recommended that HiSmile discontinue the “nasty side effects” claim on its website.

NAD noted that nothing in its decision prevents HiSmile from advertising its company’s origin story or highlighting its choice to create products that are peroxide free.

 

Comparative Claims

Since there was no evidence that HiSmile’s whitening products are “as effective as peroxide,” the National Advertising Division (NAD) recommended that HiSmile discontinue the “create an at-home whitening treatment that’s just as effective as hydrogen peroxide” claim.

NAD concluded that HiSmile’s claim that “PAP similarly [to peroxide] reacts to tooth stains” goes beyond merely stating the mechanism of action of the product and that one message reasonably conveyed by the claim is that PAP and peroxide have similar reactions to “stains” and therefore similar efficacy. In the absence of evidence to support this message, NAD recommended the claim be discontinued.

During the proceeding, HiSmile permanently discontinued the claim that “typically, whitening toothpaste contains peroxide which will damage your teeth.” Therefore, NAD did not review the claim on its merits and will treat the claim, for compliance purposes, as though NAD recommended it be discontinued.

In its advertiser statement, HiSmile stated that it will appeal NAD’s decision because it “highlights a need for international alignment on the adjudication of self-regulatory advertising codes” which it believes is “particularly important given the emergence of digital advertising and the global reach of social media platforms.”

Appeals of NAD decisions are made to the 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/NARB procedures, this release shall not be used for advertising or promotional purposes.

 

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