Following a challenge by Energizer, Procter & Gamble agreed to modify longevity claims on packaging for its rechargeable batteries in a step the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau (NAD) deemed necessary and proper.

Packaging for Duracell rechargeable batteries included a “50% Longer Lasting*” claim on the front, accompanied by the disclaimer “per charge vs. AA 1350 mAh within the first 200 cycles” in relatively small font on the back of the package. Energizer argued that the claim reasonably conveyed a broad superiority claim that Duracell’s rechargeable batteries lasted 50% longer than all other rechargeable batteries. Energizer also argued that the presence of another, unrelated claim on the front of the packaging (“GUARANTEED to last 5 years*”) further confused the scope and meaning of the “50% Longer Lasting” claim, because both claims contained a single asterisk.

In its decision, the NAD reiterated that material, qualifying information must be “presented clearly and prominently so that it can be easily noticed, read, and understood by consumers.” It noted that it considers several factors when evaluating the effectiveness of advertising disclosures, including “(1) the prominence of the qualifying information, especially in comparison to the advertising representation itself; (2) the proximity and placement of the qualifying information vis-à-vis the representation that it modifies; and (3) the clarity and understandability of the text of the disclosure.” Procter & Gamble agreed to modify the claim to “50% longer lasting per charge” to clarify the scope of the claim. It also agreed to move the disclosure clarifying the basis for this claim to the front of the packaging, where the claim appears.

TIP: As a reminder, an advertiser is responsible for substantiating all reasonable interpretations of its advertising claims, whether intended or not. To the extent a particular claim contains material, qualifying information, disclosure of that information must appear clearly and conspicuously in a manner that is easy for consumers to understand.