National Advertising Division (NAD)
NAD Finds Tide purclean’s Website “Plant-Based” Claims Supported But Label Claims Should be Modified; P&G to Appeal “4x Cleaning Power” Finding
For Immediate Release
Contact: Abby Hills, Director of Communications, BBB National Programs
703.247.9330 / email@example.com
New York, NY – August 13, 2020 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs determined that The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) properly supported “plant-based” claims on its website for its 75% plant-based laundry detergent, Tide purclean. However, NAD recommended that the advertiser modify the plant-based claims appearing on its product label. NAD also found certain cleaning performance claims for Tide purclean supported and that the “purclean” brand name, by itself, was not misleading. P&G’s advertising claims for Tide purclean were challenged by Seventh Generation Company.
P&G will appeal NAD’s recommendation that it discontinue the claim that Tide purclean has “4x Cleaning Power” to the National Advertising Review Board.
NAD reviewed the advertiser’s plant-based claims, including “purclean Plant Based” and “A Powerful, Plant-Based Clean You Can Feel Good About” and considered whether the challenged advertising conveyed implied claims that:
Tide purclean only cleans with plant-based ingredients;
Tide purclean does not contain petroleum ingredients;
Tide purclean is made with no petroleum cleaning ingredients and all ingredients are disclosed; and
Tide purclean’s efficacy comes from only plant-based cleaning ingredients.
Regarding the advertiser’s packaging claims, NAD determined that a consumer viewing the “plant-based” claim and leaf imagery on the front of the bottle and the claim, “the powerful plant-based clean you can feel good about,” on the rear panel, could reasonably take away the unsupported message that the product is 100% “plant-based.” NAD recommended that when the term “plant-based” is used the advertiser clearly and conspicuously disclose the limitations of the claim, namely, that the product is “75% plant-based” and avoid the implication that the product is 100% plant-based or that the “powerful cleaning power” is derived solely from plant-based ingredients.
Regarding the challenged video, which featured a family singing about why consumers should switch to Tide purclean, NAD determined that the line “Tide purclean, it has nothing to hide. It’s made with plants and has the cleaning strength of Tide” which appears immediately after the claims that “They don’t put in phosphates. No dyes or chlorines. It’s gentle on my skin” reasonably conveys the unsupported messages that Tide purclean also does not contain any petroleum-based ingredients. NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue this commercial or modify it to more clearly disclose the amount of plant-based content and so avoid the implication that Tide purclean is 100% plant-based. NAD further recommended that the disclaimer at the end of the commercial, “75% plant-based per USDA bio-based program,” be modified to more clearly and conspicuously disclose the amount of plant-based content included in the product.
Seventh Generation also took issue with a product description on the Tide purclean website, specifically contending that P&G omitted the petroleum-based ingredients when discussing the product formula, leading consumers to believe that the product is more plant-based than is actually the case. However, NAD determined that the advertiser properly supported its plant-based claims and that the omission of the petroleum-based ingredients from the product description section was not misleading so long as the products are adequately disclosed in the accompanying ingredients tab.
NAD reviewed the advertiser’s cleaning performance claims comparing purclean to other Tide products and considered whether challenged advertising conveyed implied claims that:
Tide purclean is as effective as other Tide detergents while only using plant-based cleaning ingredients; and
With Tide purclean, P&G has found a way to be as effective at cleaning as non-plant-based detergents while using only plant-based cleaning ingredients.
NAD reviewed P&G’s evidence and concluded that it provided a reasonable basis for its claims that Tide purclean is the “1st Plant-Based Detergent With The Cleaning Power of Tide,” “Finally, Plant-Based Power that Cleans Like Tide,” “Tide purclean is the first plant-based liquid laundry detergent that has the cleaning power that you expect and deserve from Tide, even in cold water,” and “Tide purclean performs as well as Tide Original liquid detergent regarding stain removal.”
As for the challenged cleaning performance claims comparing purclean to leading “Natural Detergent” products, NAD considered the express claim, “When tested against the leading national natural detergents, Tide purclean outperforms them in stain removal.” NAD also reviewed the challenged implied claim that all other plant-based liquid detergents, including Seventh Generation, are ineffective and not as effective as Tide purclean. After reviewing the evidence, NAD concluded that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis that Tide purclean outperformed the leading “natural” laundry detergents and that these competing detergents are not as effective as Tide purclean. However, NAD determined that consumers could reasonably interpret these claims to mean that the products against which P&G tested its Tide purclean are “natural detergents” and, given the comparison, that Tide purclean is as well. Consequently, NAD recommended that P&G modify these claims to more accurately describe the products compared as “bio-based” or “plant-based.” NAD did not conclude that the advertiser’s claim reasonably conveyed the message that all other detergents compared were wholly “ineffective” at stain removal.
NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the claim that Tide purclean has “4x Cleaning Power of Leading Natural Detergent,” which appeared on the front and back labels of the products and in a banner advertisement for retailers. In each instance, the claim is accompanied by the disclosure: “1 dose Tide purclean vs 4 doses leading natural detergent.” NAD noted that there was the potential for consumer confusion as to which brand is the leading “natural” detergent and that any claim should more clearly describe the product compared as biobased or plant-based. NAD also had several concerns with the consumer relevance of the testing protocol used by P&G and whether one dose of Tide purclean versus a quadruple dose of the leading “natural” detergent was a good fit for the “4x cleaning power” claim.
The advertiser noted that it had permanently discontinued its “6x the cleaning power” website claim before the start of the challenge. Therefore, NAD did not review this claim on the merits.
In its advertiser’s statement, P&G stated that it agrees to comply with NAD’s recommendations, except with respect to NAD’s recommendation to discontinue the “4x Cleaning Power” claim, which it will appeal.
About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumer trust and consumers are heard. The non-profit organization creates a fairer playing field for businesses and a better experience for consumers through the development and delivery of effective third-party accountability and dispute resolution programs. Embracing its role as an independent organization since the restructuring of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in June 2019, BBB National Programs today oversees more than a dozen leading national industry self-regulation programs, and continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-directed marketing, and privacy. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.
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.