National Advertising Division Recommends SharkNinja Modify or Discontinue Various Comparative Superiority Claims for Shark HyperAir Hair Dryer
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New York, NY – July 7, 2022 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs recommended that SharkNinja Operating, LLC modify or discontinue various challenged express and implied claims made in a 30-minute infomercial where its Shark HyperAir hair dryer is compared in various ways to the Dyson Supersonic and traditional hair dryers.
The claims were challenged by Dyson, Inc., the manufacturer of the competing Dyson Supersonic hair dryer. Both parties offer high-speed hair dryers with digital motors that produce fast drying times and high air velocity.
NAD reviewed a head-to-head comparison between Dyson Supersonic and Shark HyperAir made at the beginning of the infomercial and found it conveyed the implied messages that:
- The Shark HyperAir comes with attachments, while the Dyson Supersonic does not.
- Dyson Supersonic users must use separate styling tools that can cause heat damage to the hair to get the same styling results as Shark HyperAir users.
Because these messages were not supported by the record, NAD recommended that Shark modify the head-to-head comparison to avoid conveying such messages. NAD noted that while it is not Shark’s obligation to advertise or promote the Dyson Supersonic and its attachments, once Shark compares its product to the Dyson Supersonic, the comparison must be accurate.
The infomercial featured a four-way product demonstration among (1) a person with assistance of a pro-stylist using a traditional hair dryer, (2) a person using a traditional hair dryer and hot tools, (3) a person using the Dyson Supersonic with a hot tool and (4) a person using Shark HyperAir with its IQ rotatable Styling Brush attachment. NAD found that Shark’s product demonstration conveyed both a message of convenience and a message of comparative superiority to other hair dryers.
NAD determined that Shark’s evidence did not support the message that the Shark HyperAir with the IQ Rotatable Styling Brush attachment can achieve drying and styling results faster and easier than the Dyson Supersonic and the other methods featured. Further, NAD was concerned that the portrayal of the Dyson Supersonic in the advertiser’s four-way product demonstration does not reflect the results that consumers can expect to achieve when they use the product.
Therefore, NAD recommended that Shark discontinue the product demonstration or modify it to avoid conveying the unsupported implied messages that:
- The Shark HyperAir with IQ Rotatable Styling Brush attachment can achieve drying and styling results faster and easier than the Dyson Supersonic and the other methods featured; and
- That Dyson Supersonic users must use a separate hot tool for a finished look.
NAD also recommended that Shark discontinue express claims associated with the product demonstration that are not supported by the record, such as:
- “There really is no competition the Shark HyperAir achieved salon-style results faster and easier than the other hair dryers and styling tools that required drying first before styling”; and
- “The Dyson dried the hair quickly, but she still needed to switch to a flat iron to get a finished look.”
NAD reviewed several express, unqualified comparative claims made through consumer or influencer endorsements related to faster drying times with the Shark HyperAir.
NAD found that the claims of cutting drying time in half with the Shark HyperAir IQ Curl-Defining Diffuser attachment were not supported and recommended that Shark discontinue the testimonial, “This was able to cut my drying time in half-maybe even less than that-so I am a huge, huge fan of this.”
NAD also recommended that Shark discontinue the testimonial “Not only does it dry my hair quicker, but there are several styling tools that it comes with that also enable me to dry and style my hair at the same time, so I am able to get out of the door 30, 40 minutes earlier than I used to do in the past,” as it is not supported.
“Saturday Night Hair” Claim
NAD noted that the phrase “Saturday night hair” evokes an image of a special occasion or a night where more time and attention is invested in styling hair.
NAD found that standing alone, the phrase “Shark Intelligent IQ Stylers can you get Saturday night hair every day of the week” may be puffery, but in context it conveys a comparative superior performance message because the infomercial states that only the Shark HyperAir can achieve that result. NAD recommended that the claim be modified to avoid conveying a message of exclusivity or comparative superiority that only with the Shark HyperAir can users attain the performance benefit associated with Saturday night hair.
NAD noted that nothing in its decision prevents Shark from using the term “Saturday night hair” in a way that does not convey an exclusivity or comparative superiority message.
Comparative Claims Versus Traditional Hair Dryers
NAD found that the audio and video in Shark’s infomercial communicated a broad claim of superiority of air velocity and drying time compared to all traditional hair dryers with a concentrator, with a small video disclosure that stated that the comparison was against the five leading traditional hair dryers with a concentrator.
The infomercial announcer states “Meet the Shark HyperAir. Shark created a revolutionary technology with high velocity air that gives you up to 135% faster air velocity versus traditional hair dryers with a concentrator, for up to 100% faster drying time.” Both claims also appear on screen with a disclosure at the bottom of the screen that reads “tested against leading 5 traditional hair dryers (non-digital motor) with a concentrator on human hair with third party lab.”
While NAD found the "135% faster air velocity" and "up to 100% faster drying time" claims to be supported versus the leading five traditional hair dyers, NAD recommended that Shark modify its superior air velocity and drying time claims to clearly and conspicuously disclose the basis of the comparison as part of the main claim (i.e., that the comparison is versus the leading five traditional hair dryers).
NAD determined that the testing submitted by Shark does not support a claim of no frizz or frizz-free hair after using the Shark HyperAir. Therefore, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue or modify claims that the Shark HyperAir results in “frizz-free” hair as well as its “no frizz” and “forget frizz” claims. NAD noted that nothing in its decision prevents the advertiser from making properly supported frizz-reduction claims.
NAD also considered whether Shark’s infomercial suggests that the Shark HyperAir repairs or reverses heat damage that has already occurred but found it unlikely that consumers will interpret such a message.
Before and After Photos
NAD found that consumer testimonials appearing throughout Shark’s infomercial accompanied by before and after photos convey the message that users achieved their results using the Shark HyperAir on their own without professional assistance.
If the transformation in the before and after photographs featured in the infomercial was achieved with a stylist or other professional help and is not typical of what the consumer can experience at home with the Shark HyperAir, NAD recommended that Shark disclose in a clear and conspicuous manner that the before and after results pictured were achieved with the help of a stylist or other method.
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.”
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