National Advertising Division Recommends Reckitt Benckiser Modify or Discontinue Certain Claims for Finish Powerball Ultimate Dishwasher Tablets

New York, NY – May 29, 2024 – In a challenge brought by The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G), BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division recommended that Reckitt Benckiser LLC modify or discontinue certain claims for its Finish Powerball Ultimate Dishwasher Tablets.

Finish Ultimate includes Reckitt’s patent-pending CycleSync technology that uses a delayed-release coating system to separate the dosage time between the bleaching and enzyme systems such that dish stain removal is improved. The challenged advertising campaign touted it delivers the “Ultimate Clean” and is “Engineered for the Ultimate Clean in the Toughest Conditions.” 

The challenged claims appeared in Finish Ultimate and third-party webpages and commercials. 

In its decision, the National Advertising Division (NAD) determined that “Ultimate Clean,” depending on the context, could convey one of the following messages, each requiring different evidence for substantiation:

  • The self-referential superiority claim that Finish Ultimate cleans the best among Finish Products; 
  • The market superiority claim that Finish Ultimate cleans better than all other detergents (sometimes limited to the toughest conditions); and
  • The monadic performance claim that Finish Ultimate is able to deliver excellent cleaning results in the toughest conditions (sometimes up to and including the toughest conditions) as depicted by before-and-after demonstrations.

 

While NAD determined that some challenged advertisements convey the message that Finish Ultimate cleans the best among Finish products, this was not a claim challenged in this proceeding.

 

Market Superiority Claims

The National Advertising Division (NAD) has found that the best way to establish the comparative or superior performance of a sensory attribute (i.e., consumer perception of cleanness) is through head-to-head product testing. As Reckitt did not provide head-to-head testing or argue the testing it did provide would show that Finish Ultimate is superior to the market, NAD recommended that Reckitt modify its advertising to avoid conveying the message that Finish Ultimate is superior to all other detergents.

 

Monadic Performance Claims

NAD recommended that Reckitt discontinue its advertisements that tie “Ultimate Clean” expressly to “the toughest conditions” that depict burnt-on stains that are dramatically tougher than those tested or describe conditions that were tougher than its testing could support. Or, alternatively, modify its advertising to more closely reflect the results supported by its testing.

In its advertiser statement, Reckitt stated that it will comply with NAD’s recommendations even though it “respectfully disagrees with NAD’s interpretation of some of the advertising at issue.”

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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