The NAD recently recommended that Euro-Pro Operating LLC discontinue certain advertising claims that implied its “Shark Rocket” vacuum cleaner is superior to all other upright vacuums, particularly those made by Dyson, or modify the claim to clearly and conspicuously disclose the basis for the comparison. While the NAD found Euro-Pro had a reasonable basis for claiming the Shark Rocket outperformed the Dyson DC40 in deep cleaning tests, the NAD determined that the challenged advertising conveyed a broader, unqualified comparison against all or a substantial portion of upright vacuums in the market place by pointing to either a “full size upright” or a “Full Size Dyson.” Moreover, the NAD found Euro-Pro’s disclosures referencing the Dyson DC40 were inadequate where they appeared only at the bottom of its web page in barely legible type and in fleeting “mouse type” disclosures on-screen in its infomercial. Given the significance of the limitation, the NAD recommended that the object of the comparison be communicated in the language of the claim itself – not just in a fine-print, qualifying disclosure.

TIP: Qualifying disclosures must be clear, conspicuous, effectively communicated, and cannot contradict or significantly limit the message conveyed by the claim they qualify. Limiting language must be displayed in a manner that is readily noticeable, readable, and understandable to consumers, while significant limitations should appear in the claim itself.