NAD Finds Glade “Up to 50% Longer Lasting Fragrance” Claim Supported; Recommends Discontinuation of “More Authentic Lavender” Claims
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New York, NY – October 8, 2020 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs determined that S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. (SCJ) provided a reasonable basis for the claim that its Glade warmers provide “up to 50% longer lasting fragrance” than prior versions, and concluded that certain other challenged claims are non-actionable puffery. However, NAD recommended that SCJ discontinue several comparative claims stating that Glade products have “more authentic lavender” than Air Wick, as well as its usage of the challenged room graphic in connection with the claims “The most adjustable air fragrance warmer” or “Authentic fragrance that adjusts to any room size.”
The claims at issue, which appeared in online and social media advertising, were challenged by Reckitt Benckiser, LLC (RB), maker of Air Wick products.
NAD determined that the claim “Redesigned for a superior fragrance experience” was puffery because the claim does not contain a provable, quantifiable attribute. NAD noted that the phrasing of the claim does not convey the message that the product has been redesigned to provide a material improvement to performance, but rather to increase subjective appeal, which remains the type of boastful statement that typifies puffery.
In addition, NAD determined that the claim “Indulge in a fragrance experience like no other” constitutes non-actionable puffery. NAD noted that the claim does not convey a message regarding superior efficacy or that the consumer will enjoy an objective benefit – only that the scent or “fragrance experience” provided by Glade products is unique. There is no dispute that the fragrance formulae used by members of the air freshener industry are highly proprietary and, thus, unique.
The challenger also took issue with several comparative claims, such as:
- “More authentic lavender than Air Wick”;
- “More authentic lavender than Air Wick* *vs. Air Wick Lavender & Chamomile”; and
- “Experience a more authentic lavender fragrance* *vs. Air Wick Lavender & Chamomile.”
NAD determined that reasonable consumers could understand these claims to mean that the featured Glade product contains a greater quantity of authentic lavender components than Air Wick, that it has a scent that is more similar to authentic lavender, or that it has a stronger or more intense authentic lavender scent than Air Wick. NAD considered whether the advertiser’s evidence could support any of these messages. However, NAD determined that SCJ’s consumer study was not a good fit for the messages conveyed by the claims because it relied on consumers’ own perceptions about what lavender smells like rather than an assessment of the similarity between Glade and Air Wick’s scents to a real, authentic lavender plant. Therefore, NAD recommended that these claims be discontinued.
Further, NAD concluded that the advertiser’s use of the claim “True fragrance, crafted only by Glade” constitutes non-actionable puffery. This determination was predicated on NAD’s recommendation that the advertiser discontinue the claim, “Experience a more authentic lavender,” which preceded “True fragrance, crafted only by Glade.” NAD determined that in the absence of the objective, comparative claim, “Experience a more authentic lavender,” the term “true fragrance” holds no objective meaning and is a vague and boastful statement.
NAD determined that SCJ’s use of a challenged house icon, when viewed in conjunction with either the claim “The most adjustable air fragrance warmer” or the claim, “Authentic fragrance that adjusts to any room size” could reasonably convey that the unsupported message that the warmer is capable of filling a large open space with fragrance. Therefore, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue use of the room graphic or modify the advertising to avoid conveying the message that the product can fill any sized space.
Finally, NAD determined that the advertiser had provided a reasonable basis for the claim “Up to 50% longer lasting fragrance.” NAD determined that the advertiser’s evidence demonstrated that its redesigned warmers provided fragrance for up to 50% longer than their previous versions.
In its advertiser’s statement, S.C. Johnson stated that it will comply with NAD’s decision. SCJ further stated that it disagrees with NAD’s conclusion that the “consumer testing it commissioned is insufficient to support the claim that Glade’s lavender fragrance is more authentic than Air Wick’s, but appreciates NAD’s careful consideration of the issues presented and will comply with NAD’s decision.”
About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumer trust and consumers are heard. The non-profit organization creates a fairer playing field for businesses and a better experience for consumers through the development and delivery of effective third-party accountability and dispute resolution programs. Embracing its role as an independent organization since the restructuring of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in June 2019, BBB National Programs today oversees more than a dozen leading national industry self-regulation programs, and continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-directed marketing, and privacy. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.
About the National Advertising Division: The National Advertising Division (NAD), a division of BBB National Programs, provides independent self-regulation and dispute resolution services, guiding the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for advertising truth and accuracy, delivering meaningful protection to consumers and leveling the playing field for business.
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