NAD Recommends Modification of “#1 Derm-Trusted Suncare” Claim for Neutrogena; JJCI Appeals Recommendation to Discontinue Other Claim
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New York, NY – June 30, 2021 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs did not take issue with support provided for Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc.’s claim that its Neutrogena brand provides “#1 Derm-Trusted Suncare.” NAD, recommended, however, that JJCI modify its use of the claim in conjunction with the phrase “used most often for themselves and their own families” to avoid misleading consumer takeaways.
NAD also recommended that the advertiser discontinue the claims:
- “#1 Dermatologist Recommended”
- “#1 Dermatologist Recommended Brand”
- “#1 Dermatologist Recommended Skincare Brand”
- “#1 Dermatologist Recommended Skincare”
JJCI will appeal NAD’s recommendation to discontinue the claim “#1 Dermatologist Recommended Skincare Brand,” as well as NAD’s determination that the challenge was not foreclosed by NAD’s prior decision in Neutrogena Corporation (Neutrogena Products), Report #4881, NAD/CARU Reports (July 2008).
The claims at issue, which appeared in online and print advertising, were challenged by L’Oréal USA, Inc.
On the jurisdictional issue, NAD determined that the basis of its review was neither a reopening of the prior 2008 challenge based on a showing of “extraordinary circumstances” (under Section 8.1 of the BBB National Programs’ Procedures for NAD/NARB), nor was it based on a failure to comply with NAD’s recommendations in the 2008 case. Rather, NAD determined that the basis of L’Oréal’s challenge is a claim being made in 2020, not a claim being made in 2008. NAD noted that JJCI could not support a claim made in 2020 with a survey conducted in 2008, because even if the methodology and protocol were identical, the participants, products on which the recommendations are based, data collected, and conclusions drawn from that survey are new.
NAD determined that the claims “#1 Dermatologist Recommended” and “#1 Dermatologist Recommended Skincare,” as they appear in the context of the challenged advertising, convey a superiority message broader than Neutrogena being the most recommended skincare brand (e.g., that all Neutrogena products, not just skincare products, have been ranked #1 or that, in context, specific products depicted in their advertising are #1 recommended). Because the advertiser’s evidence only addressed the claim “#1 dermatologist recommended skincare brand,” NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue these claims.
NAD noted that support for the advertiser’s “#1 Dermatologist Recommended Skincare Brand” claim requires evidence related to the full range of skincare products that dermatologists recommend. In support of its claim, JJCI provided NAD with the results of a survey of dermatologists conducted by Ipsos. However, NAD had several concerns regarding the methodology of the Ipsos survey and its ability to capture the full breadth of dermatologist recommendations. NAD determined that the survey was not sufficiently reliable to support a “#1 Dermatologist Recommended Skincare Brand” claim and recommended that it be discontinued, along with the advertiser’s “#1 Dermatologist Recommended Brand” claim.
NAD determined that JJCI’s claim “#1 Derm-Trusted Suncare” which appears in conjunction with the statement “used most often for themselves and their families” reasonably conveys the message that dermatologists most frequently use Neutrogena brand products specifically because they trust them the most. Further, the claim conveys the message that dermatologists use and trust Neutrogena Ultra Sheer products specifically because the claim appears in product specific advertising for that line of sunscreens.
The advertiser relied on the Ipsos survey to support its “#1 Derm-Trusted Suncare” claim, however, NAD noted that the survey does not query why the respondent uses the brand (i.e., it could be due to personal preference, ease of application, scent, sensitivity, etc.), nor does it ask which specific products the respondents trust or personally use the most. Therefore, NAD recommended that the advertiser modify its use of the claim to avoid the misleading consumer takeaways that (1) it is used by dermatologists in their personal lives specifically because they trust the brand and (2) the claim applies specifically to Neutrogena Ultra Sheer products as opposed to the brand in general.
During the proceeding, the advertiser informed NAD that it has permanently discontinued other challenged express claims, including:
- “Recommended by dermatologists 2x more than any other skincare brand”
- “Our #1 Dermatologist Recommended Platform for Sensitive Skin”
- “#1 Dermatologist Recommended solution visibly reduces fine lines and wrinkles in just one week”
In reliance on the advertiser’s representation that it has permanently discontinued these claims, NAD did not review the claims on their merits.
In its advertiser statement, JJCI stated that it will appeal NAD’s threshold jurisdictional determination that the “2008 Neutrogena decision, in which NAD found JJCI’s dermatologist survey methodology ‘sound in all material respects,’ does not foreclose L’Oréal’s current challenge to the ‘#1 dermatologist recommended skincare brand’ claim.” JJCI further stated that it will appeal NAD’s decision regarding the “#1 Dermatologist Recommended Skincare Brand” claim because it disagrees with NAD’s conclusion that the Ipsos survey was not reliable support for the claim. Such appeals of NAD decisions are made to BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the appellate-level truth-in-advertising body of BBB National Programs.
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About the National Advertising Division: The National Advertising Division (NAD) 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.