New York, NY – July 30, 2013 – The National Advertising Division has determined that the claim “world’s best fruit and vegetable juice,” included in broadcast advertising for Tropicana Products, Inc., is puffery. The claim was challenged by Campbell Soup Company, maker of V8 V-Fusion fruit/vegetable juice.
NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
The challenged commercial contained the voiceover: “If you want the world’s best fruit and vegetable juice, look in the cooler” and showed several shelves of non-refrigerated juice products crashing to the floor. The voiceover then stated “Introducing Tropicana Farmstand, a deliciously chilled fruit and vegetable juice.”
The core issue for NAD was whether the challenged advertising communicated a claim that Tropicana Farmstand was superior to competing fruit-and-vegetable juices or whether the challenged claims constituted puffery.
NAD noted in its decision that a claim that a product is the world’s “best” may constitute puffery depending on the context in which it appears.
“If the use of the superlative is vague and fanciful and suggests no objective measure of superiority, then the claim is likely to be puffery. If, on the other hand, adjectives such as ‘best’ or ‘greatest’ are accompanied by specific attributes which are likely to suggest that product is comparatively ‘better’ in some recognizable or measurable way, the defense of ‘puffery’ is unlikely to prevail.
The issue for NAD was whether the juxtaposition of the claim with the reference to the “cooler” and the simultaneous crashing down the floor of other fruit and vegetable juices conveyed the message that other fruit and vegetable products are inferior.
The challenger based its position, in part, on a consumer survey it had commissioned. However, NAD noted in its decision, when asked specifically asked about what the commercial communicated about “other” products, only 19 respondents (5.2%) mentioned the challenger’s product, V-8 (and only one of the 19 respondents believed that the commercial conveyed a superiority message over V-8).
Following its review of the evidence in the record, NAD determined that the claims at issue were puffery and did not communicate a specific message of superiority requiring substantiation.
Tropicana, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company “is pleased with NAD’s decision and appreciates NAD’s careful attention to the issues addressed.”