NAD Recommends Discontinuance of Claim that Arm & Hammer Spinbrush Toothbrush Provides “The Same Great Clean” as the Oral-B Pro 1000 for a Fraction of the Price
For Immediate Release
Contact: Abby Hills, Director of Communications, BBB National Programs, 301.412.7769 / firstname.lastname@example.org
New York, NY – May 4, 2020 – The BBB National Programs National Advertising Division (“NAD”) recommended that Church & Dwight Co., Inc. discontinue the comparative claim that its Arm & Hammer Spinbrush toothbrush (“Spinbrush”) provides the “same great clean as the Oral-B Pro 1000,” as well as the accompanying value claim, “instead of paying $50, you get the same great clean for less than $10. So why pay more?” These claims, which appeared in website and television advertising, were challenged by The Procter & Gamble Company (“P&G”), maker of the Oral-B Pro 1000 electric toothbrush.
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.
NAD determined that consumers will reasonably take away from the advertiser’s parity cleaning claim that the Spinbrush provides the “same great clean” as the Oral-B Pro 1000 to mean that it will provide the same level of plaque removal, gum health and oral hygiene benefits. In reaching this conclusion, NAD considered the market context in which the advertiser compares its Spinbrush to the Oral-B Pro 1000, namely that consumers familiar with the powered toothbrush category understand that the touted benefits of the products, as compared to manual toothbrushes, are their ability to remove plaque, promote healthier gums and improve overall oral hygiene, not simply to remove stains or whiten teeth. NAD further noted that while the FDA, which regulates toothbrushes as medical devices, does not address the term “cleaning,” it specifically addresses the purpose of powered toothbrushes as the removal of plaque (a powered toothbrush is intended to “remove adherent plaque and food debris from the teeth to reduce tooth decay”). NAD’s finding that a reasonable takeaway of the term “cleaning” can refer to “plaque removal” was also based on the fact that the American Dental Association makes a distinction between tooth cleaning and tooth stain removal (whitening), and that the advertiser makes the same distinction on its own website.
In support of its “same great clean” claim, the advertiser relied on the results of a comparative tooth stain removal (whitening) study. However, NAD determined that this evidence was insufficient to provide a reasonable basis for a comparative “cleaning” (i.e. plaque removal) claim. Rather, such claims require support in the form of well conducted head-to-head product testing and plaque removal data, which the advertiser did not provide. Therefore, NAD recommended that the “same great clean as the Oral-B Pro 1000” claim (as well as the accompanying value claim) be discontinued.
In its advertiser’s statement, Church & Dwight disagreed with NAD’s findings regarding the implied claim of plaque removal parity and NAD’s conclusions regarding the sufficiency of its stain removal testing but agreed to comply with NAD’s recommendations.
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.
About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs fosters trust, innovation, and competition in the marketplace through the development and delivery of cost-effective, third-party self-regulation, dispute resolution and other programs. BBB National Programs is the home of industry self-regulatory and dispute resolution programs designed to resolve business issues and advance shared objectives by responding to marketplace concerns to create a better customer experience. To learn more about industry self-regulation, please visit: BBBNP.org.