The National Advertising Division (NAD) recently recommended Shenzhen ZhiYi Technology Co., Ltd. modify and discontinue a number of performance claims about its robot vacuum iLife A4s. In response to a competitive challenge, iLife discontinued nearly all of its express claims, including that the A4s vacuum contains a “HEPA filter,” “twice the suction of [a] common robot vacuum,” and “fade-free” technology. Of the remaining claims, the challenger claimed “50% more suction” implied a comparison to other competitive products. iLife reported that it would clarify the claim to make clear that the comparison is to its own previous generation of robot vacuum (A4 vs. A4s), as opposed to a competitive claim.
Further, NAD concluded the claim, “Dust is reduced by iLife’s filter, thus reducing the amount of allergens in the air,” was overly broad and was a health claim requiring a “high level of support.” Although iLife submitted a testing that showed the vacuum collects dust, which it argued is an allergen, the testing was deemed insufficient because it did not analyze whether the vacuum reduced common allergens like dust mites and pollen, or whether the vacuum’s capability to collect dust reduced these common allergies.
TIP: Health claims generally require “competent and reliable scientific evidence” because they are very material to consumers and have a high potential for consumer harm if they are not supported. Advertisers making health claims must be able to substantiate such claims with tests, studies, or other scientific research, based on expertise of professionals in the field, and objectively conducted by qualified people using industry-standard testing methods.