After reviewing a quantified superior performance claim made by Reynolds Consumer Products for its Hefty Slider storage bags, the National Advertising Division said the company should discontinue the “2X STRONGER” quantifier and stick with a straightforward superior performance claim in comparison to competitor Ziploc’s bags.
To substantiate its claims, Reynolds relied upon an industry test (ASTM F88) as well as its own testing of the bag’s performance when shaken, dropped, and stacked.
But the NAD determined that the evidence did not support the “2X STRONGER” claim.
The methodology used in the industry testing was designed to measure the force required to separate a test strip of material containing the seal – not to comparatively rank the seal strengths of competing resealable bags, the NAD said. Further, the NAD questioned the consumer relevance of the ASTM testing, which did not correlate with the actual performance of the seal with regard to the advertising claims at issue.
And while the NAD found that the shake, drop, and stacking tests were reliable and well-conducted, the tests themselves did not relate to the claim at issue. Although the tests demonstrated the Hefty seal has superior strength to Ziploc, the tests focused on situations that put unusually high amounts of stress on the closure mechanism.
Therefore, while the specific Reynolds’ “2X STRONGER” superior performance claim should be discontinued, the NAD said the advertiser provided sufficient evidence to assert a superior performance claim without reference to the “2X STRONGER” claim.
Based on the test results, the NAD recommended the advertiser make a “stronger seal than Ziploc bags” claim as it relates to particularly demanding situations identified in the advertising at issue – when the bags are shaken, dropped, or stacked.
The modified claim should “more closely reflect the substantiation for a superior performance, but not a quantified superior performance claim,” the NAD said. The “stronger seal” claim should also include either a qualification (for example, “stronger seal when shaken, dropped or stacked”) as part of the claim itself, or a clear and conspicuous disclaimer placed in close proximity to the performance claim it modifies.
To read the NAD’s press release about the decision, click here.
Why it matters: The NAD also examined Ziploc’s argument that even if the Slider bags did have a seal two times stronger, it provided no meaningful consumer benefit. The NAD disagreed and concluded that even small product improvements encourage positive competition and can provide benefits to consumers. A stronger seal, in the NAD’s view, is relevant consumer information. “NAD has consistently recognized an advertiser’s right to tout product innovations that are beneficial to consumers,” it said.