National Advertising Division Recommends Stihl Discontinue Unqualified “Made in America” Claims for Outdoor Power Equipment

New York, NY – February 22, 2024 – In a challenge brought by Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation, BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division recommended that, in connection with its outdoor power equipment, Stihl Incorporated USA:

  • Discontinue its unqualified “Made in America” claims; and 
  • Modify its “Made in America” claims to make clear that not all (or virtually all) of its products are made in the United States and that not all (or virtually all) of the parts of those products are from the United States.

 

The challenged claims, on Stihl’s website, social media, commercials, and print ads stated that its products are “Made in America.” The claim was made in connection with the brand generally in a variety of contexts (at times with power tools visible in the ad) along with images of the American flag. Stihl usually included a disclosure stating, “A majority of STIHL products sold in America are made in America of U.S. and global materials.”

NAD concluded that notwithstanding the disclosure, consumers would take away a broad, unqualified message that all or virtually all of its products – and all or virtually all of those products’ parts – are made in America. 

Since there was no evidence in the record to support this broad unqualified message, NAD recommended that Stihl:

  • Discontinue its unqualified “Made in America” claims; and 
  • Modify its “Made in America” claims to make clear that not all (or virtually all) of its products are made in the United States and that not all (or virtually all) of the parts of those products are from the United States.

 

NAD noted that nothing in its decision would prevent Stihl from making a properly qualified “Made in America” claim as to the specific products and/or parts that are actually made in America.

Further, NAD recommended that Stihl modify its advertising to avoid conveying the messages that:

  • Stihl’s product line meets the FTC’s requirements to be designated as “Made in America.”
  • All of Stihl’s products are made in America.
  • All of Stihl’s parts are made in America.
  • All products and their constituent parts in Stihl’s advertisements are made in America.
  • Stihl’s products are all or virtually all made in America.
  • Stihl’s parts are all or virtually all made in America.
  • Stihl’s products have no or negligible foreign content.
  • The parts in Stihl’s products have no or negligible foreign content.
  • Some companies cannot claim that their products are Made in America, but Stihl can.

 

In its advertiser statement, Stihl stated that it “agrees to comply with NAD’s recommendations” although it “believes that its advertising verbiage and methods have truthfully conveyed its qualified Made in USA claims.”

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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