NAD Finds End-Of-Day Vision and Comfort Superiority Claims for PRECISION1 Daily Contact Lenses Supported; Recommends Modification of Other Claims
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New York, NY – December 30, 2020 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs determined that Alcon Vision LLC provided a reasonable basis for the following superiority advertising claims for its PRECISION1 daily contact lenses:
- “PRECISION1 is superior to 1-DAY ACUVUE MOIST on end-of-day vision [and] comfort.”
- “SMARTSURFACE Technology for superior lens-surface moisture stability.”
- “In an in vitro study, PRECISION1 contact lenses demonstrated superior lens-surface moisture stability vs. 1-DAY ACUVUE^ MOIST, clarity^1 day and MyDay^ contact lenses” accompanied by a visual representation of the study results.
NAD also concluded that to the extent the advertising conveys the implied message that “wearers ‘strongly preferred’ PRECISION1 vs. 1-Day ACUVUE MOIST” because of its vision, comfort, or handling benefits, that message has a reasonable basis as well.
However, NAD recommended that the advertiser:
- Modify claims that “Five times more contact lens wearers ‘strongly preferred’ PRECISION1 vs. 1-Day ACUVUE MOIST” to more accurately reflect the evidence in the record.
- Modify its advertising to avoid conveying the message that its in vitro wettability test results relate to the PRECISION1’s vision and comfort benefits.
The claims at issue, which appeared in a press release, a digital sales aid targeted to eye care practitioners (“ECPs”), and on the advertiser’s professional-targeted website, were challenged by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. (“JJVC”), maker of competing daily contact lenses.
The challenger’s 1-Day ACUVUE Moist is the most fitted daily contact lens in the U.S. The advertiser’s PRECISION1 is new to market and is being positioned as a mainstream daily lens to complement the advertiser’s premium-priced DAILIES TOTAL1 and value-driven DAILIES AquaComfort PLUS. PRECISION1 is promoted as featuring “SMARTSURFACE Technology” that creates a layer of moisture on the surface of the lens.
In support of the challenged superiority and preference claims, the advertiser relied on the results of a clinical study, which it describes as “a prospective, randomized, bilateral crossover, double-masked, controlled clinical trial of PRECISION1 and 1-DAY ACUVUE MOIST.” After careful review, NAD determined that the study was well-conducted and reliable and that JJVC did not possess stronger, more persuasive evidence reaching a different result. Further, NAD found that Alcon’s study was a good fit and provided a reasonable basis for the claim that “PRECISION1 is superior to 1-DAY ACUVUE MOIST on end-of-day vision [and] comfort” and the associated graphical representation of its study results.
Regarding the advertiser’s preference claim that “five times more contact lens wearers ‘strongly preferred’ PRECISION1 vs. 1-Day ACUVUE MOIST,” NAD determined that, to the extent the advertising conveys the implied message that “wearers ‘strongly preferred’ PRECISION1 vs. 1-Day ACUVUE MOIST” because of its vision, comfort or handling benefits, that message has a reasonable basis. NAD noted that the advertiser’s clinical study asked participants the reason for their preference: comfort, vision, handling, or other. None chose other.
However, NAD determined that the study’s results are not a good fit for the advertiser’s quantified “5x strongly prefer” claim, which only showed that 4.69 times as many subjects strongly preferred PRECISION1. Accordingly, NAD recommended that the advertiser modify the claim to more accurately reflect the evidence in the record regarding its test subjects' “strong preference” for the lenses in question.
With regard to the advertiser’s superior lens-surface moisture stability claim, the parties acknowledged that there is no evidence in the record that in vitro surface moisture stability test results are correlated to product performance. NAD determined that Alcon’s use of its in vitro test results, along with the graph depicting the study results, convey a limited, supported message about the physical properties measured by the specific test performed by the advertiser. Therefore, NAD concluded that the claims “SMARTSURFACE Technology for superior lens-surface moisture stability” and “In an in vitro study, PRECISION1 contact lenses demonstrated superior lens-surface moisture stability vs. 1-DAY ACUVUE^ MOIST, clarity^1 day and MyDay^ contact lenses” were supported and do not convey a misleading message about the benefits a lens wearer would attain.
Finally, NAD considered the messages reasonably conveyed by a series of claims regarding PRECISION1’s SMARTSURFACE Technology and whether it conflates the in vitro lens moisture stability test results with the product’s vision and comfort performance. NAD determined that on advertising to ECPs, the headline “SMARTSURFACE Technology for your patients’ vision and comfort,” standing alone, touts monadic vision and comfort benefits. However, when combined with a bulleted list of attributes including the results of in vitro lens surface moisture stability testing, stating “longer-lasting lens surface moisture,” it reasonably conveyed the message that the vision and comfort benefits were tied to the in vitro test results. NAD concluded that another reference to SMARTSURFACE Technology in Alcon’s sales aid may reasonably convey the message that the lens’ surface moisture stability is related to the touted comfort benefit, thereby tying the comfort benefits to the in vitro test results. NAD recommended that the advertiser modify its advertising to avoid conveying the message that its in vitro wettability test results relate to the PRECISION1’s vision and comfort benefits.
In its advertiser’s statement, Alcon stated that it “will comply with NAD’s recommendations.” Alcon further stated that it “is a strong supporter of the self-regulatory process and will comply with NAD’s decision. Alcon appreciates NAD’s careful reasoning in this matter.”
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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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