In a recent challenge of Nature’s Way Brands’ advertising for its Alive! line of multivitamins, the National Advertising Division (NAD) reviewed the claim that Alive! multivitamins are “made with 26 fruits and vegetables,” as well as a number of claims regarding the effects of taking the multivitamins.

The evidence offered by the advertiser demonstrated that the multivitamins are made with powders from 26 fruits and vegetables. However, the NAD determined the claim and the advertising in which it appeared communicated the message that the advertiser’s vitamins contained the nutritional equivalent of 26 fruits and vegetables, such that a consumer could take Alive! vitamins in lieu of eating fruits and vegetables and still reap the same nutritional benefits. The NAD concluded that it was undisputed that powdered blends did not provide the same benefits as real fruits and vegetables, and recommended that the advertiser discontinue the claim.

The NAD noted that it would be permissible for the advertiser to promote that its products contain powdered juice blends, however, the advertiser must avoid conveying the unsupported messages that the vitamins and minerals in the product are sourced from real fruits and vegetables or that the powdered blends offered the nutritional equivalent of fruit and vegetables. The NAD also evaluated several claims regarding the performance of the multivitamins. Among them, it determined the advertiser could support a “superior potency claim.” However, it recommended the advertiser discontinue the claim “Get more from your multivitamin. A lot more.” because there was no evidence that amounts of B-vitamins in excess of the daily recommended amount offered any additional benefit. The NAD also recommended the advertiser discontinue the claim “Alive! is nutrition you can feel” after determining that a consumer could reasonably interpret that to mean the product provides a palpable burst of energy, a claim the record did not support.

TIP: Advertisers should ensure they can support all reasonable interpretations of their advertising claims when considered in the context of the advertisement or modify their claims to communicate what can be substantiated.