The National Advertising Division (NAD) has recommended that Natural Factors, Inc. discontinue several claims regarding its Theracurim line of curcumin dietary supplements. Natural Factors made product and superiority claims regarding Theracurim, including that it is “Clinically proven as the most bioavailable curcumin” and that “One capsule is equal to 8000 mg of regular curcumin powder.”
In response to the challenge, Natural Factors voluntarily agreed to permanently discontinue eight of the challenged claims, leaving the NAD to examine the advertiser’s superior bioavailability claims. Natural Factors relied on data from a third-party test that compared Theracurim to products containing Meriva and BCM-95, which compromised over 85% of the natural and organic curcumin supplement market. The NAD noted that it is well-established that a comparison to 85% of the market is required to make a general market superiority claim. However, NAD noted that while the test included only natural and organic products, this limitation was not communicated in the advertising, and that competitive market for such a broad, unqualified superiority claim for this product would also include supplements sold at large national drugstores and grocery stores that were not included in the testing. As such, the NAD recommended that the market superiority claims be discontinued or modified to clearly and conspicuously define the market.
Tip: It is well-established that advertisers generally need to test against 85% of the market to make unqualified comparative claims. If the competitive set tested is more narrow than the entire market for a product, advertisers should be sure to limit comparative claims to the specific products that were tested.