National Advertising Division Finds Certain Claims for Shark Vertex Supported; Recommends Other Vertex and Navigator Pet Pro Vacuum Claims Be Discontinued

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

703.247.9330 / press@bbbnp.org

New York, NY – August 16, 2022 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs determined that certain “no hair wrap” claims made by SharkNinja Operating, LLC for its Shark Vertex corded vacuum and Vertex Lightweight cordless stick vacuum were supported. NAD recommended that Shark discontinue other “no hair wrap” claims for its Vertex vacuums and discontinue or modify certain “no hair wrap” claims for its Navigator Pet Pro vacuum. NAD also recommended that Shark discontinue claims related to the superior hair pick-up ability of Vertex vacuums and the ability of the Vertex corded vacuum to pick up all debris in a single pass.

These claims, which appear in Shark’s 30-minute infomercial for the Vertex corded vacuum, product pages on Shark’s website, and/or on product packaging, were challenged by Dyson, Inc., maker of competing vacuum cleaners. 

Shark’s Vertex vacuums feature patented technology that Shark calls “PowerFins,” which are specially designed flaps attached to the brushroll in place of traditional bristles to prevent the wrapping of hair. Shark’s Navigator vacuum, which has bristles, uses a patented bristle guard-and-comb design that helps to separate hair from the brushroll so that the hair doesn’t tighten around the brushroll when vacuuming.  

 

“No Hair Wrap” Claims

NAD determined that, in the context of the challenged infomercial, “hair wrap” is reasonably understood as the wrapping and entanglement of hair around traditional bristle brushrolls that can accumulate and affect vacuum performance. Further, NAD found that “no hair wrap” claims in Shark’s infomercial, along with two product demonstrations, convey the message that:

  • Vertex corded vacuums eliminate the “hair wrap” problem;
  • The Vertex brushroll with PowerFins removes all strands of wrapped hair;
  • No hair will be found wrapped on the brushroll immediately after a cleaning activity of any duration; and
  • The claims apply to all typical cleaning tasks involving hair pick-up whether on carpets or floors, not just the specific demonstrations depicted in the infomercial.

 

In addition, NAD concluded that the product pages and packaging for the Vertex and Navigator vacuums communicate that all strands of hair are removed from the Shark brushrolls during their normal operation, and that the products can pick up pet hair and long hair during typical cleaning activity on either carpet or hard floors.

NAD concluded that Vertex testing reliably shows that the Vertex brushroll will not incur hair wrap when picking up long hair or pet hair off carpet or hard floors. Therefore, with respect to the Vertex vacuums, NAD determined that Shark had a reasonable basis for its express claims:

  • “No Hair Wrap” 
  • “Traditional Vacuum: Hair Wrap vs. Shark: No Hair Wrap”
  • “Standard Brushroll: Hair Wrap vs. Shark: No Hair”

 

And implied claims that:

  • With Shark’s Vertex Vacuums, there are zero hair strands left on the brush roll after cleaning.
  • With Shark’s Vertex Vacuums, there will be no hair wrap (i.e. no hair strands whatsoever) on the brush roll after cleaning compared with other vacuums, which will have significant amounts of hair on the brush roll.

 

However, NAD recommended that these claims be discontinued regarding Shark’s Navigator vacuum because NAD found that Shark’s Navigator testing did not test the brushroll under all conditions covered by the claims. Alternatively, NAD suggested that Shark could modify the claims to limit them to the pick-up of long hair on carpet only.

Finally, NAD determined that Shark did not substantiate the reasonably conveyed message that no hair will be wrapped around the Vertex corded vacuum brushroll immediately after cleaning, regardless of duration. Therefore, NAD recommended that Shark:

  • Discontinue the claim “[W]hen you flip your vacuum over, there is no hair wrap on either brush roll” and
  • Discontinue other claims (including product demonstrations) that state or imply that the Vertex brushroll will not have any hair wrap immediately after a cleaning activity of any duration.

 

Alternatively, NAD recommended that Shark modify such claims to make clear the conditions under which the consumer would experience the absence of any hair wrap on the Vertex (e.g., clearly and conspicuously disclose the actual run time of the vacuums so that consumers understand that additional run time is needed before the clean brushroll is achieved). 

 

Better Hair Pick-Up Claims

NAD determined that Shark’s infomercial for its Vertex corded vacuum reasonably conveys to consumers a message that the Vertex vacuum provides better hair pick-up from the floor to the dust cup versus all traditional bristle brushroll vacuums. Because NAD found that Shark’s testing was not a good fit for this comparative claim, NAD recommended that Shark:

  • Discontinue the express claim “Shark [Vertex corded] PowerFins give you better hair pick up from the floor to the dust cup”; and 
  • Discontinue the Vertex/Dyson Ball Animal 2 product demonstration to avoid communicating the implied claim that Shark’s Vertex Vacuum will provide better hair pick up from the floor to the dust cup versus all competing vacuums. 

 

Single Pass Total Pick-Up Claims

NAD concluded that several testimonials in the Vertex infomercial, along with product depictions showing the Vertex vacuum picking up all food and debris in a single pass, reasonably convey a message that the Vertex vacuum picks up 100% of food, hair, and debris shown in the infomercial in a single pass, whether on a hard floor or carpet. Because Shark did not provide support for this message, NAD recommended that Shark discontinue the express claims:

  • “[I]t gets all of the dirt, all of the cereal, all of the hair” 
  • “[O]ne pass through, it picks everything up”

 

And modify the infomercial to avoid conveying the implied claims that:

  • Shark’s Vertex corded vacuum provides 100% pick up of dirt, hair, and debris (both large and small).
  • Shark’s Vertex corded vacuum picks up 100% of dirt, hair, and debris in a single pass.

 

NAD noted that nothing in its decision prohibits Shark from making truthful and accurate claims regarding the Vertex vacuum’s ability to pick up food, hair, or any other debris for which Shark has a reasonable basis of support.

In its advertiser statement, Shark stated that it “agrees to comply with NAD’s recommendations.” The advertiser further stated that although it “does not agree with all of NAD’s findings, as a strong supporter of voluntary self-regulation, it accepts NAD’s decision.”

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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