NAD recently reviewed TV and Internet advertising for Dollar Shave Club challenged by Schick. NAD recently reviewed TV and Internet advertising for Dollar Shave Club challenged by Schick. Schick alleged that the ads falsely accused it and other competitors of abusing consumers through price gouging, and also conveyed an unsupported implied parity claim with respect to performance. One of the ads at issue featured a customer at a drugstore receiving a “free gift” of a kick to the groin with his razor purchase, while another showed a customer handing over all of his money and possessions to buy razor blades. The ads featured the tagline, “tired of getting beat up by high razor prices? DollarShaveClub.com ships amazing razors for just a few bucks.”
As to Schick’s assertion that Dollar Shave Club falsely disparaged competitors by communicating that competitors were guilty of price gouging and charging for “useless” features, NAD found the ads at issue did not criticize the specific features of the competitors’ razors or imply that they did not have any use at all. Rather, NAD reasoned that the ads properly called into question whether extra features provide increased value over the more basic razors, which did not amount to false disparagement. However, Dollar Shave Club agreed to discontinue references to competitors’ “gimmicks” and “shenanigans.”
NAD also concluded that consumers would not likely take away the implied message that Dollar Shave Club razors perform the same as higher-priced razors. While the ads included express price comparisons, the NAD found these to be true and not problematic. Further, the ads did not mention of any specific product attributes of the razors or include information about shaving performance, which NAD found important to its conclusion that consumers would not take away a comparative performance message.
TIP: Advertiser’s should be careful that advertising does not cross the line into disparagement of competitor’s or their products, even if advertising is done in a humorous manner. However, advertiser’s may point out actual differences between products, such as price, without necessarily implying that products are similar in all other respects.