National Advertising Review Board Recommends Merck Animal Health Discontinue “Best in Show” Commercial for Bravecto Flea and Tick Preventative for Dogs
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New York, NY – May 05, 2022 – A panel of the National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the appellate advertising law body of BBB National Programs, has recommended that Merck Animal Health discontinue its “Best in Show” commercial for Bravecto brand flea and tick preventative based on the NARB panel’s finding that the 30-second commercial reasonably communicates an implied misleading and unsupported message that a rival company’s NexGard brand flea preventative fails to protect against fleas for twelve weeks because of a lack of efficacy.
The advertising at issue had been challenged before the National Advertising Division (NAD) by Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc., maker of NexGard. Following NAD’s decision (Case No. 7029), Merck Animal Health appealed NAD’s recommendation that it discontinue its 30-second “Best in Show” television commercial.
In agreement with NAD, the NARB panel determined that Merck Animal Health’s commercial in its current form is not sufficiently clear in conveying that Bravecto’s longer-lasting performance in preventing fleas as compared to NexGard is due solely to the fact that Bravecto is a chew designed to last 12 weeks, while NexGard is a chew designed to last for one month.
The NARB panel found that this lack of clarity results in a reasonable interpretation by consumers that the NexGard single-dose product failed to continue working through the 12-week time period portrayed in the commercial because it is less efficacious, a claim which both parties agree is not supported. The panel noted that there is nothing in the record to indicate that NexGard when used as directed with monthly dosing is less effective than Bravecto at preventing fleas and ticks over a 12-week period.
For these reasons, the NARB panel recommended that Merck Animal Health discontinue its 30-second “Best in Show” advertisement.
The NARB panel also found that nothing in the NAD decision prevents Merck Animal Health from advertising a truthful message that a single dose of Bravecto is designed to last 12 weeks compared to NexGard’s one-month dosing design, and any benefit that may come from that, such as convenience to pet owners.
Merck Animal Health stated that it “will comply with the NARB’s decision.” The advertiser further stated that it “respectfully disagrees with the majority’s ruling that the Bravecto 30 second ‘Best in Show’ commercial reasonably conveys a message other than that one dose of Bravecto has a longer duration of action than a dose of NexGard. Nonetheless, Merck Animal Health will consider the NARB’s recommendations in future advertising.”
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