The National Advertising Review Board (NARB) referred Rust-Oleum to the FTC for further review after the NARB determined Rust-Oleum failed to comply with its recommendation that the advertiser discontinue certain claims about its Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover product. Specifically, both the National Advertising Division (NAD) and its appeal body, the NARB, took issue with Rust-Oleum’s “2X coverage” claims, including in visuals and as part of the product name. The challenge, originally brought by Sherwin Williams, argued that Rust-Oleum’s use of “2X” and references to “twice the coverage,” including the product name Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover 2X, reasonably conveyed an unsubstantiated claim that Rust-Oleum’s product offered twice the coverage of competitive products and other Rust-Oleum products not labelled as “2X.”

Both the NAD and the NARB rejected Rust-Oleum’s argument that the “2X” reference could be interpreted by the reasonable consumer as meaning something other than “2X coverage.” Further, the NAD and NARB concluded that the substantiation provided by Rust-Oleum did not support the double coverage claims as compared to competitive products or Rust-Oleum’s own products. While Rust-Oleum subsequently modified its advertising and product name, NARB noted to the FTC that both products still prominently feature the “2X” claim. Consistent with NARB review procedure, it is referring the matter to the FTC for further investigation. The NAD’s original press release on its decision is available here.

TIP: Advertisers are responsible for substantiating all reasonable interpretations of their advertising claims, regardless of whether an interpretation was intended or not. While the NAD is a self-regulatory body, advertisers should be aware that failure to comply with NAD decisions can lead to a referral to the FTC to review the challenged advertising.