National Advertising Division (NAD)
Luxury Mattress Manufacturer, The Saatva Company, Should Exercise Caution Making Claims Based on Third-Party Ratings and Rankings
For Immediate Release
Contact: Abby Hills, Director of Communications, BBB National Programs, 301.412.7769 / firstname.lastname@example.org
New York, NY – June 1, 2020 – Following a challenge by Casper Sleep Inc., the National Advertising Division (NAD) found there no evidence demonstrating that luxury mattress manufacturer Whitestone Home Furnishings, LLC d/b/a The Saatva Company has material connections to third-party websites that impact the editorial independence of the sites, but recommended Saatva discontinue the claim “America’s best-reviewed luxury sleep brand” if the claim:
Is based on ratings from review sites that are not representative of reviews across the entire luxury mattress product category,
Uses metrics that are irrelevant to a reasonable consumer’s purchasing decision, or
Has undisclosed material connections to products reviewed on the sites.
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.
As part of this challenge, NAD considered whether Saatva has undisclosed material connections to several unbranded mattress review websites (consumermattressreport.com, bestmattresspicks.com, top10matressesonline.com, and mattressreviwer.org) that impact the editorial independence of the sites and are potentially misleading to consumers. Saatva disavowed any ownership, control, or connection to the challenged websites that could impact their editorial independence.
Further, while Saavta maintained it has an affiliate relationship with the websites, it also affirmed that the affiliate relationship does not influence or give it control over the sites’ content. NAD found that there was insufficient evidence in the record to establish that Saavta has a material connection to the challenged websites or that the statements made on the websites at issue constitute advertising by Saatva. Accordingly, pursuant to its Policies and Procedures which limit NAD’s jurisdiction to “national advertising,” NAD administratively closed the matter with respect to this issue.
With regard to the claim “America’s best-reviewed luxury sleep brand” on Saatva’s website, NAD noted that consumers could reasonably expect the claim to be based on reliable and representative reviews across the entire luxury mattress product category. Accordingly, if Saavta’s claim is based on third-party reviews that assess only a segment of the luxury mattress market, then the broad and unqualified “best-reviewed luxury sleep brand” claim is potentially misleading to consumers who reasonably expect the claim to reflect a comprehensive review of luxury mattresses across the entire product category.
NAD further noted that if the third-party ratings or rankings are based on an assessment of metrics that are irrelevant to a reasonable consumer’s purchasing decision, then the “best-reviewed” claim is likely to mislead consumers. Additionally, if third-party review sites purport to be independent and impartial, but have undisclosed connections to the advertiser that are material to consumers (i.e., is likely to affect consumers’ choices or conduct regarding an advertised product), then advertising claims based on the review sites (as well as the review sites themselves) can also mislead consumers.
Consequently, NAD stated that the advertiser should exercise caution when making claims based on third-party ratings, rankings, and reviews of products. To the extent that the “America’s best-reviewed luxury sleep brand” claim is based on ratings from review sites that are not representative of reviews across the entire luxury mattress product category, uses metrics that are irrelevant to a reasonable consumer’s purchasing decision, or has undisclosed material connections to products reviewed on the sites, NAD recommended that it be discontinued.
In its advertiser’s statement, Saatva agreed to comply with NAD’s recommendations and thanked NAD for its work on this matter.
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. National Advertising Division 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.
About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumer trust and consumers are heard. This independent, non-profit organization enhances trust, innovation, and competition in the marketplace through the development and delivery of cost-effective, third-party self-regulation, dispute resolution, and accountability programs. BBB National Programs’ 10 leading industry self-regulation and dispute resolution programs resolve business issues of national and international importance, and fosters industry best practices in truth-in-advertising, child-directed marketing, data privacy, and dispute resolution. To learn more about industry self-regulation, visit bbbprograms.org.