National Advertising Review Board Recommends P&G Discontinue Odor Elimination Claims for Febreze Products

For Immediate Release
Contact: Abby Hills, Director of Communications, BBB National Programs

703-247-9330 / press@bbbnp.org

New York, NY – September 15, 2022 – A panel of the National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the appellate advertising law body of BBB National Programs, recommended that Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) discontinue certain “odor elimination” claims that P&G makes across its Febreze line of home fragrance products, which include the Febreze air, candle, car, plug, small spaces, and wax melts products.

The advertising at issue had been challenged before the National Advertising Division (NAD) by S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc., manufacturer of the competing line of Glade brand products. Following NAD’s decision (Case No. 6977), P&G appealed NAD’s recommendation that it discontinue 19 express and two implied claims, many of which include express references to the ability of Febreze products to “eliminate” odors. 

In agreement with NAD, the NARB Panel determined that air freshener claims that assert that the product “eliminates” odors should be held to a level of support high enough to show actual elimination or absence of odors, rather than simply odor reduction.

In support of its claims, the advertiser relied on sensory testing, known as Difference from Control (DFC) testing. The NARB Panel carefully reviewed the evidence concerning P&G’s DFC testing and concluded that it does not support the challenged odor-elimination claims due to several areas of concern.

Therefore, the NARB Panel recommended that P&G discontinue the challenged express and implied claims that Febreze eliminates odors, such as:

  • “Febreze Air eliminates odors in an instant.” 
  • “Want to eliminate odors without heavy overwhelming scents? We get it. Introducing Febreze Light. It eliminates odors with no heavy perfumes in light scents you’ll love.”
  • Febreze Fabric Refresher “eliminates sunk-in-stink with long-lasting freshness.” 

 

The NARB Panel noted that nothing in its decision should be interpreted as indicating that P&G does not have proper support for claims of odor reduction for its Febreze products. In addition, the Panel concluded that P&G has sufficient documentation of its OdorClear technology to support mode-of-action claims that are not combined with odor-elimination claims, including claims of instantaneous or continuous action. 

P&G stated that it disagreed with NARB’s decision but that it will comply with the recommendations.

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.

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