NAD Finds STIHL Can Support ‘Built in America’ Claim, Recommends More Prominent Disclaimer

New York, NY – Oct. 22, 2013 – The National Advertising Division has determined that STIHL Incorporated can support a “Built in America” advertising claim featured in national advertising, but recommended the company make an accompanying disclosure more prominent.

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 response to a consumer inquiry, NAD requested the company provide substantiation the following express claim, made in a print advertisement in USA Today:

“All These, Built in America*”
“*A majority of STIHL Products are built in the United States from domestic and foreign components.”

NAD also considered whether the language implied that all parts and materials used in the manufacture of STIHL products are made in the United States and all products are assembled in the United States.

NAD noted in its decision that the Federal Trade Commission has provided very clear guidance for advertisers seeking to claim that their products are made in the United States. That standard requires that products promoted – without qualification – as “Made in the U.S.A.” must be “all or virtually all” made in the United States, meaning that the product should have no or negligible foreign content.

In this case, NAD noted, the accompanying disclaimer – “A majority of STIHL products are built in the United States from domestic and foreign components” – plainly stated that products depicted in the advertisements were fully assembled in the United States from foreign and domestic parts. NAD determined that a reasonable consumer, having read the disclosure, would be unlikely to take away the message that the products were made entirely of American-sourced components.

However, NAD noted, the disclaimer at issue was printed in “mice type” – very small type – at the bottom of a full-age newspaper advertisement. The disclaimer, NAD found, was difficult to read, difficult to find and not in close proximity to the main claim.

NAD recommended the advertiser modify its claim to make the disclaiming language clear and conspicuous by making it substantially larger and placing it in close proximity to the triggering claim, “Built in America.”

STIHL, in its advertiser’s statements, said the company “accepts the NAD’s decision, will review future advertising in light of its recommendations, and agrees to make its “Built in America” qualification more conspicuous going forward.”