The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (NAD) recently recommended Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. discontinue certain superior taste claims in advertising for Mott’s Garden Blend Vegetable Juice. NAD determined the advertising at issue conveyed the message that Mott’s Garden Blend Vegetable Juice is better tasting than a competitive juice product. Further, NAD determined that the ad also impliedly communicated that the competitive product tastes “disgusting.” The commercial depicted a man “making unhappy faces” while drinking from an unidentified bottle of vegetable juice, which is contrasted with a woman drinking Mott’s Garden Blend Vegetable Juice stating that the juice is “delicious.” The advertiser submitted a consumer perception survey which purported to show that the advertising did not convey a comparative superiority claim. However, NAD concluded that the advertiser’s consumer perception survey was materially flawed. NAD further concluded that the superior taste claim was unsupported, and references to the competitive product tasting bad were falsely disparaging. NAD cautioned that it will closely scrutinize “disparaging claims to ensure that they are truthful, accurate and narrowly drawn.” The advertiser was advised to remove comparative elements in the advertising and avoid false disparaging comparisons to competitive products.
TIP: Advertisers should use caution when making comparative claims. Comparative taste claims should be fully substantiated with reliable consumer perception research and should be “truthful, accurate and narrowly drawn” to match the results of the research.