National Advertising Division Finds “225k 5-Star Product Reviews” Claim for Prose Customizable Hair Products Supported, With Qualification

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

703.247.9330 / press@bbbnp.org

New York, NY – March 22, 2022 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs determined that PerSé Beauty Inc. (doing business as “Prose”) provided a reasonable basis for the claim “225k 5-star product reviews on Review and Refine” for its customizable hair products. However, NAD recommended that the advertiser clearly disclose qualifying information related to how it collects and counts reviews.

The advertiser formulates a customer’s product from the result of their online hair and lifestyle survey and continuously tailors the formula based on the customer’s post-purchase feedback, a process it refers to as its “Review & Refine” experience. As part of its process, Prose solicits star ratings on aspects of the customer’s experience after each purchase — overall experience, satisfaction per product, and various product attributes. It may revise its formulation of the product after each purchase based on the consumer’s feedback. For example, if the customer indicated that they would prefer a stronger fragrance – that adjustment is made on subsequent purchases. The iterative process of reviewing and refining happens every time the customer orders. 

This case was initially brought as a SWIFT challenge by Function, Inc. against Prose with regard to the advertiser’s “over 192,000 5-star product reviews claim.” In that decision, NAD noted that nothing in the context of the challenged unqualified “192,000 5-star product reviews” claim, or the claim itself, alerts consumers that its count of 5-star reviews is based on Prose’s “Review and Refine” experience. NAD determined that the evidence in the record was insufficient to support the challenged “over 192,000 5-star product reviews” claim and recommended that it be discontinued. In the prior proceeding, NAD did recommend, however, that Prose could make a claim based on aggregated product reviews provided it discloses that they were solicited in a neutral manner as part of the “Review and Refine” process from verified purchasers. 

Subsequently, Function filed a compliance inquiry regarding concerns about Prose’s revised “225k 5-star product reviews” claim as well as Prose’s failure to adequately disclose how the “Review and Refine” tool impacts its 5-star claim. NAD closed the compliance inquiry upon concluding that the advertiser had made a good faith effort to comply with NAD’s decision by modifying references to Review & Refine to state that reviews are based on a back-and-forth process of altering and re-reviewing the product to increase customer satisfaction. 

NAD granted Prose’s petition to reopen the underlying matter as to the advertiser’s revised “225k 5-star product reviews” claim. Given that the challenger did not wish to participate in the reopened matter, NAD proceeded with the matter as if the claims at issue were assessed by NAD in the Standard Track as part of its independent monitoring of truth and transparency in U.S. national advertising.

In its analysis of whether Prose’s claims about its consumer reviews are supported, NAD determined that Prose’s solicitation of reviews is reliable, the advertiser instituted mechanisms to ensure reviews were properly collected and assessed, and the survey design was reliable. However, NAD noted that Prose uses the 5-star review claim throughout its advertising without important qualifying information related to how it collects and counts reviews. Therefore, although the claim “225k 5-star product reviews on Review and Refine” is supported by a reasonable basis, NAD recommended that the advertiser clearly disclose that:

  • Prose’s star ratings are counted on a per product, not per order, basis; and 
  • The number of 5-star reviews include 5-star reviews of reordered products which initially received 5-star reviews.

 

Further, NAD concluded that the inclusion of only positive reviews on the advertiser’s website was not misleading because Prose demonstrated that the reviews reflect typical customer experience and the honest opinions of verified purchasers. 

In its advertiser statement, Prose stated that it “appreciates NAD’s guidance and will proudly comply with its recommendation.”  

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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About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumer trust and consumers are heard. The non-profit organization creates a fairer playing field for businesses and a better experience for consumers through the development and delivery of effective third-party accountability and dispute resolution programs. Embracing its role as an independent organization since the restructuring of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in June 2019, BBB National Programs today oversees more than a dozen leading national industry self-regulation programs, and continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-directed marketing, and privacy. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.

About the National Advertising Division: The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs provides independent self-regulation and dispute resolution services, guiding the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for advertising truth and accuracy, delivering meaningful protection to consumers and leveling the playing field for business.  

 

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