National Advertising Division Finds Certain Shark Stratos Vacuum Claims Supported; Shark Appeals NAD Recommendations to Discontinue or Modify Other Claims
New York, NY – April 27, 2023 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs determined that certain “no hair wrap” claims made by SharkNinja Operating, LLC for its Shark Stratos Powered Lift-Away upright vacuum were supported. However, NAD recommended that Shark discontinue or modify other claims for the Stratos vacuum related to its superior hair pick-up ability, odor-neutralizing technology, and superior suction.
These claims, which appear in Shark’s 30-minute infomercial for the Stratos vacuum, were challenged by Dyson, Inc., maker of competing vacuum cleaners.
“No Hair Wrap” Claims
NAD determined that the informercial’s “no hair wrap” claims reasonably convey the message that the Stratos vacuum can pick up pet hair and long hair during typical cleaning activity on carpet or hard floors. NAD concluded that Shark’s testing provided a reasonable basis for the “no hair wrap” claims and the claim that “Shark Stratos self-cleaning brushroll technology removes hair from the brush while you clean, preventing hair wrap,” when accompanied by a disclosure of the runtime of the vacuums used in the turnover demonstrations (a modification the advertiser agreed voluntarily to make).
Best Hair Pick-up Claims
NAD concluded that Shark’s testing was not a good fit to support the broad, category-wide superiority message conveyed by its infomercial claims to have the “best hair pick-up of any vacuum.” In so finding, NAD noted that Shark did not produce comparative testing against 85% of the relevant marketplace and that the methodology of its laboratory testing was too limited.
Therefore, NAD recommended Shark modify its advertising to avoid conveying the unsupported messages that the Stratos offers:
- “The best hair pick-up of any vacuum,”
- “The best hair pick-up of any upright vacuum in America,” and
- “The most hair pick-up from floor to dust cup of any vacuum in America.”
Odor Neutralizing Claims
NAD determined that Shark’s infomercial reasonably conveys the message the Stratos vacuum is able to neutralize and eliminate malodor because the infomercial combines express claims that the odor technology interacts with odor-causing particles and transforms the bad odors into fresh-smelling air, with images of odor molecules being destroyed.
Further, NAD found that Shark’s “smell test” communicates the message that the Shark Stratos vacuum reduces odors and emits a pleasant smell that consumers prefer to that of the Dyson or Bissell vacuums when vacuuming up smelly objects in the home.
However, because Shark did not provide evidence to support an odor elimination message, NAD recommended that it discontinue advertising that conveys a message of odor elimination including animated depictions of the product eliminating green malodor particles and the claim, “Shark solves [the problem of vacuum odor] with a new and unique breakthrough odor neutralizer technology. This technology interacts with odor-causing particles and transforms the bad odors into fresh-smelling air.”
Regarding Shark’s claims of odor reduction, pleasant smell, and comparative odor reduction, NAD concluded that while Shark’s testing shows a perceptible reduction in malodor for the Shark Stratos vacuum, the evidence did not support the odor reduction messages conveyed in the infomercial.
Therefore, NAD recommended that these claims be discontinued or, in the alternative, that Shark modify the claims to reflect the supported message that the Shark Stratos’s odor neutralization technology reduces malodor.
Superior Suction Claims
NAD found that one message reasonably conveyed by the “ultimate suction challenge” in the infomercial is that Stratos has superior suction for cleaning floor surfaces, a message that was not supported.
Therefore, NAD recommended Shark discontinue the implied claim that the Stratos’ superior suction power translates into superior floor cleaning performance.
In its advertiser statement, Shark stated that it will appeal a portion of NAD’s decision because it “believes that NAD’s analysis of the odor claims was inconsistent with self-regulatory precedent and that NAD overreached by finding that the video communicated a preference claim and an odor elimination message.” Shark added that it is also appealing NAD’s recommendation to discontinue the claim that the Shark Stratos's has “the best hair pickup of any upright vacuum in America.”
Appeals of NAD decisions are made to BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the appellate-level truth-in-advertising body of BBB National Programs.
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