NARB Recommends Dyson Discontinue Certain Claims Made for its V8 Cordless Vacuums Following SharkNinja Challenge
New York, NY – Feb. 12, 2019 – A panel of the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) has recommended that Dyson clearly and conspicuously disclose that its “most powerful suction” claim for its V8 cordless vacuums is being made in comparison to other cordless vacuums but disagreed with NAD’s other proposed modifications to the claim. The panel also recommended that Dyson discontinue unqualified claims that its V8 cordless vacuums provide 40 minutes of runtime. The panel also recommended that Dyson modify (but not discontinue) claims that its V8 cordless vacuums provide “up to 40 minutes” of runtime. The panel further recommended that Dyson discontinue the challenged “new battery chemistry” claim.
NARB is an appellate unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
The advertising at issue was challenged by SharkNinja Operating LLC before the National Advertising Division (NAD), an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self- regulation.
The NAD found that Dyson’s “most powerful suction” claims reasonably conveyed a message that the Dyson V8 has more powerful suction than all other cordless vacuums regardless of the mode in which it is operated. The NAD recommended that the claim be modified to disclose, as part of the main claim, that the Dyson V8 cordless vacuums have the most powerful suction in “max” mode. The NAD also recommended that Dyson modify its superior suction claims on its website to limit the claims to cordless vacuums, and that Dyson modify any superior suction claims for the V8 Absolute and V8 Animal models to make it clear that the claims are about the V8 product line rather than the individual models.
The NAD also found that Dyson’s “up to 40 minutes runtime” claims were not substantiated because the record did not show that an appreciable number of consumers using the Dyson V8 cordless vacuum for typical household vacuuming are likely to experience 40 minutes of runtime. The NAD recommended that Dyson discontinue its “up to 40 minutes of runtime” and “40 minutes runtime” claims. Lastly, the NAD recommended that Dyson discontinue the challenged “new battery chemistry” claim because Dyson began selling cordless vacuums with the V8 battery since at least September 2016.
Dyson appealed these NAD’s recommendation to NARB.
The panel agreed with NAD that Dyson’s website advertising for its V8 cordless vacuums could reasonably convey the unsupported message that the V8 vacuums have more powerful suction than both corded and cordless vacuums, and the panel recommended that Dyson’s website advertising be modified to clearly and conspicuously disclose that the most powerful suction claim is being made in comparison to cordless vacuums. However, the panel did not agree with NAD’s finding that the challenged most powerful suction claims reasonably convey a message that the Dyson V8 has more powerful suction than other cordless vacuums regardless of the mode in which it is operated. The panel found that reasonable consumers will understand that a “most powerful suction” claim for cordless vacuums is based on the vacuum’s most powerful performance mode, and the panel agreed with Dyson that qualifying the claim to explain that it refers to operation in the “max” mode would be redundant and potentially confusing. The panel also disagreed with NAD’s finding that superior suction claims for the V8 Absolute and V8 Animal models should be modified to make it clear that the claims are about the V8 product line rather than the individual models.
The panel determined that the unqualified 40-minute runtime claims reasonably convey a message that the battery will consistently provide 40 minutes runtime, a message that was not supported by evidence in the record.
With respect to the “up to 40-minutes runtime” claims, the panel determined that Dyson had not shown that an appreciable number of consumers will achieve 40 minutes of runtime under normal circumstances during typical household cleaning. However, the panel disagreed with NAD’s recommendation that these claims be discontinued. The panel found that the record supported Dyson’s “up to 40 minutes runtime” claims if the claims were qualified to include a clear and conspicuous disclosure informing consumers that (a) the claim is based on operation in the extended runtime mode without use of motorized attachments or (b) actual runtime will vary based on power mode and/or attachments used. The panel also determined that even a properly qualified “up to 40 minutes runtime” claim should not be made in close proximity to images of the Dyson V8 cordless vacuum with the motorized brush attachment.
Lastly, the panel agreed with the NAD’s determination, based on NAD and FTC precedent, that the V8 battery and its chemistry should not be characterized as “new” given that the product has been on the market for over two years.
Dyson, in its advertiser’s statement, thanked the Panel and agreed to comply with the Panel’s recommendations in future advertising. “Dyson appreciates NARB’s determination modifying several of NAD’s recommendations,” the company said.
Note: A recommendation by NAD to modify or discontinue a claim is not a finding of wrongdoing and an advertiser’s voluntary discontinuance or modification of claims should not be construed as an admission of impropriety. It is the policy of NAD not to endorse any company, product, or service. Decisions finding that advertising claims have been substantiated should not be construed as endorsements.
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