NAD Reviews Advertising Claims for Golf Clubs, Following Challenges by Taylor Made, Callaway

New York, NY – June 12, 2013 – The National Advertising Division recently decided two separate cases involving advertising claims made for golf clubs, following challenges filed by Taylor Made Golf Company, Inc. and Callaway Golf Company.

NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

In the first case, a claim made by Callaway for its Razr Fit Xtreme driver was challenged by Taylor Made. The challenged claim, which appeared in print and Internet advertising and in a Twitter promotion, was the “longest driver in golf.”

The claim was accompanied in Internet advertising by the following disclosure:

“Claim based on player testing with a 440CC clubhead against the top five market share leaders; TaylorMade, Rocketballz, TaylorMade R11s, Callaway RAZR FIT, Ping G20 and Titleist 910 D2, with average gains of up to 8.7 yards in total distance. Source: Golf Fata Tech thru Sept. 2012—Top Five Market Share Leaders, Dollars.”

Following its review of the evidence, NAD determined that the claim the “longest driver in golf” (or the “longest driver in golf”… “across the broadest range of player abilities possible”)…”could be reasonably understood to mean that the Razr Fit Xtreme can hit a golf ball longer than other drivers, regardless of the player’s skill level.

Despite the disclaimer that was added to Callaway’s website, NAD determined that this claim was not sufficiently qualified. NAD further determined that Callaway’s five tested drivers were not a sufficient sampling of the driver marketplace. NAD also had concerns about the objectivity of the test participants, all Callaway employees.

Following its review of the evidence, NAD determined that Callaway’s testing was not sufficient to support its claim that its Razr Fit Xtreme driver is the “longest driver in golf” “across the broadest range of player abilities possible.” NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the claim.

Callaway, in its advertiser’s statement, took issue with certain of NAD’s findings. The company noted, however, that “Callaway respects the NAD’s self-regulatory process and has agreed to discontinue the advertising campaign.”

In the second case, Callaway challenged the following claim made by TaylorMade Golf Company, Inc. for its ROCKETBALLZ Fairway Woods:

  •  “The average golfer picked up about 17 yards with the ROCKETBALLZ 3-Wood.”

NAD also examined whether the advertising implied that the ROCKETBALLZ product would increase the distance of the average golfer’s shots by 17 yards, regardless of the golfer’s experience or skill.

Taylor Made described the challenged advertising as a single misworded reference to its ROCKETBALLZ fairway woods in advertising designed to feature its entirely new and different ROCKETBLADEZ line of irons.

The advertiser responded to the challenge by stating in writing that it had permanently discontinued the “average player” claim. It pointed out that this claim was made accidentally in the context of an “interview style” video advertisement and that the video was modified to remove the claim once the advertiser was made aware of the error. The advertiser also noted that, because the claim was not intended, it did not submit substantiation for the “average player” claim.

In reliance on the advertiser’s written assurance that the challenged “average player” claim had been permanently discontinued, action that NAD found to be necessary and appropriate, NAD determined that no further action was necessary.

Taylor Made, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company “accidently used the word ‘average’ vs. ‘better’ in a single product video last year. Once this mistake was called to our attention, we did not wait for the NAD process and took immediate action to revise the video to ensure the golfer was not being misled.”