Tuesday, August 16, 2016

NAD Finds P&G can Support Superior Line Claim For Oral-B Toothbrushes, Following Challenge by Philips Oral Healthcare

New York, NY – July 27, 2016 – The National Advertising Division has determined that the Procter & Gamble Company, maker of Oral-B electric toothbrushes, can support advertising claims challenged by competitor Philips Oral Healthcare, LLC.

However, NAD recommended P&G modify its website and video to expressly state the products compared, in both its quantified performance claim comparing Sonicare DiamondClean to the Oral-B PRO 5000/7000 with the CrossAction brush head and its line claim comparing the Sonicare DiamondClean to the Oral-B Pro Series with the CrossAction brush head.

NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

Philips took issue with a commercial that featured claims that the line of Oral-B PRO Series CrossAction brushes are superior to Sonicare DiamondClean.  P&G also makes quantified performance claims on its website and in a video related to the superiority of a specific Oral-B brush – the Oral-B PRO 5000/7000 CrossAction – to the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean.  Philips challenged both the reliability of the studies in support of these claims as well as whether the claims clearly state the basis of the comparison. NAD reviewed claims that included:

  • “Oral-B | Comparing Oral-B to Sonicare’s Most Expensive Brush.”
  • “Oral-B’s unique 3D action starts with a rounded cup shaped head that adapts to each individual tooth, then it pulsates to loosen plaque, and finally, rotates to sweep the plaque away.  Three features that add up to unique Oral-B 3D action that delivers a superior clean versus Sonicare.”
  • “Oral-B cleans better by removing up to 22% more plaque than Sonicare and 33% more plaque in hard to reach places.  Plus, it’s even 32% better at improving gum health.  For a superior clean, Oral-B is the right choice.”
  • “And Oral-B delivers clinically proven superior clean versus Sonicare DiamondClean.  Oral-B.  Know you’re getting a superior clean.”
  • “Oral-B’s rounded brush head cups your teeth to break up plaque, and rotates to sweep it away.”
  • “Oral-B PRO Series Cleans Better.”
  • “Oral-B vs. Sonicare” “Better Than Sonicare’s Best (Most Expensive Brush)” and “Learn how our premium technology delivers better oral care results versus Sonicare DiamondClean.”
Following its review of the evidence in the record, NAD concluded that the studies on which P&G’s claims were based, when combined, constituted competent and reliable scientific evidence and provided a reasonable basis for the claims regarding the comparative efficacy of the tested brushes. 

NAD found that P&G had established a reasonable basis for its line claim that the Oral-B PRO Series CrossAction tooth brushes deliver a “clinically proven superior clean to Sonicare DiamondClean,” but recommended that the commercial be modified to expressly state the Oral-B products compared, the Oral-B PRO Series with the CrossAction brush head and the Sonicare DiamondClean, as part of the main claim.

NAD further determined that it was not misleading for the Oral-B commercial to convey the implied message that Oral-B PRO Series CrossAction brushes are superior to Sonicare DiamondClean based on design differences between the brushes.  

Finally, NAD recommended that the advertiser modify its website and video to expressly state that its quantified claims compare the Sonicare DiamondClean to the Oral-B PRO 5000/7000. 

P&G, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company agreed “to comply with NAD’s recommendations.”

Note: A recommendation by NAD to modify or discontinue a claim is not a finding of wrongdoing and an advertiser's voluntary discontinuance or modification of claims should not be construed as an admission of impropriety. It is the policy of NAD not to endorse any company, product, or service. Decisions finding that advertising claims have been substantiated should not be construed as endorsements.


About Advertising Industry Self-Regulation:  The Advertising Self-Regulatory Council establishes the policies and procedures for advertising industry self-regulation, including the National Advertising Division (NAD), Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), National Advertising Review Board (NARB), Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) and Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program (Accountability Program.) The self-regulatory system is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

Self-regulation is good for consumers. The self-regulatory system monitors the marketplace, holds advertisers responsible for their claims and practices and tracks emerging issues and trends. Self-regulation is good for advertisers. Rigorous review serves to encourage consumer trust; the self-regulatory system offers an expert, cost-efficient, meaningful alternative to litigation and provides a framework for the development of a self-regulatory solution to emerging issues.
To learn more about supporting advertising industry self-regulation, please visit us at: www.asrcreviews.org.

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