BBB National Programs National Advertising Division Refers Advertising Claims by Geerpres to Federal Trade Commission After Company Declines to Comply with National Advertising Division Recommendations
For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Brett, Director, National Advertising Division, 212.705.0109 / firstname.lastname@example.org
New York, NY – February 10, 2020 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) has referred advertising claims made by Geerpres, Inc. for its ADVANTEX Single-Use Disposable Microfiber Mop Pads to the Federal Trade Commission for further review after the company declined to comply with NAD’s recommendation to discontinue its claims that ADVANTEX Mop Pads are “microfiber.”
NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is a division of the BBB National Programs’ self-regulatory and dispute resolution programs.
The claims at issue were challenged by Contec, Inc., a competing maker of microfiber mop pads, and included:
- “ADVANTEX Single-Use Microfiber Mop” Pad.
- “made of 100% synthetic microfiber.”
- “Made in the USA”; “Engineered in the USA.”
- The mop pad is based on a “proprietary synthetic construction” that uses “ADVANTEX superior microfiber technology . . .” that is “exclusively offered by Geerpres.”
- The ADVANTEX Single-Use Microfiber Mop Pad is “Made in the USA.”
- The ADVANTEX Single-Use Microfiber Mop Pad is unique and innovative.
Single-use microfiber mop pads are used by businesses like schools, hospitals, biomedical facilities, microelectronic companies and other industries to keep their environment as clean as possible. NAD noted that microfibers are an ultrafine fiber having a denier per filament (“dpf”) of less than 1.0 or less than 10 microns in diameter, and they clean by attaching themselves to even small microscopic dirt particles. However, microfibers cannot effectively pick up particles that are smaller than they are and, as a result, the size of the fiber impacts cleaning efficacy.
NAD determined that the evidence provided by Geerpres did not provide a reasonable basis to substantiate the claim that its current ADVANTEX Single-Use Disposable Microfiber Mop Pads are, in fact, “microfiber” or “made of 100% synthetic microfiber” – a finding bolstered by Contec’s more reliable competing evidence - and recommended that these claims be discontinued.
With regard to the challenged “Made in the USA” claims, NAD concluded that the tiny circular American flag in the footer of the advertiser’s web pages, sufficiently separated from any product information, would not be reasonably understood by consumers to mean that the advertiser’s ADVANTEX Single-Use Disposable Microfiber Mop Pads are “Made in the USA.” However, with respect to the use of this emblem on Geerpres’ “About Us” web page (“Welcome to Geerpres Professional Cleaning Solutions”), NAD recommended that the advertiser remove the circular American flag from the product(s) discussion portion of this page or modify the page to avoid conveying the message that the mop pads are made in the United States. NAD further concluded that the advertiser’s statement that “we confine our operations largely to assembly and partner with local regional suppliers to help reduce the environmental impact resulting from transportation,” did not reasonably give rise to a consumer take away that the advertised product is made in the USA.
Finally, NAD determined that the challenged language “patent pending,” “[t]he latest engineered microfiber technology,” “proprietary synthetic construction,” “the ADVANTEX superior microfiber technology” and that the product is offered “exclusively by Geerpres” did not give rise to a reasonably conveyed message that the product was unique or innovative. However, NAD recommended that the claim, “[t]he latest engineered microfiber technology,” be modified to more accurately limit the technology to “Geerpres’ latest technology” (or to Geerpres’ latest engineered super absorbent mop head) and avoid conveying the unsupported message that its product offers the latest engineered microfiber technology in the industry.
In its advertiser’s statement, Geerpres stated that it will not comply with NAD’s recommendation to discontinue its claims that ADVANTEX Mop Pads are “microfiber.” According to the advertiser, its current mops are “microfiber” and it “will continue to refer to its mop pads as ‘microfiber,’ because they are” and “to state otherwise would be to misrepresent a fact.” NAD is disappointed by the advertiser’s decision not to comply with its recommendations, but appreciates that the advertiser has already made certain modifications to its advertising consistent with NAD’s recommendations. In light of the advertiser’s decision to decline to comply with NAD’s recommendation to discontinue its claims that ADVANTEX Mop Pads are “microfiber,” NAD has referred the matter to the FTC for possible enforcement action.
About the National Advertising Division: National Advertising Division (NAD), a division of BBB National Programs, provides independent self-regulation overseeing the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for truth and accuracy.