NAD Finds “All In One” Claim Adjacent to Symptom List on Mucinex Label Not Misleading; Recommends Other Changes

New York, NY – May 13, 2019 – The National Advertising Division has found that Reckitt Benckiser, Inc.’s “All in One” claim when positioned adjacent to a list of symptoms treated by its Maximum Strength Mucinex Fast-Max Cold & Flu both on the product label and in a 30-second does not convey the misleading message that the product treats all cold and flu symptoms in one product, following a challenge by The Procter & Gamble Company, the maker of Vick’s DayQuil/Nyquil medications.  However, NAD recommended discontinuation of other challenged advertisements.

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

Procter & Gamble contended that the claim “All in One”, as it appears on the label, in a number of television commercials, in online retail advertising, and in print advertisements, communicates the misleading message that the product treats all cold and flu symptoms with one product.  The Mucinex daytime products do not treat runny nose and sneezing, and the nighttime product does not include a mucus-fighting ingredient. Reckitt Benckiser countered that its “All in One” claim is always presented in conjunction with a list of symptoms treated by the advertised product, thus communicating to consumers the truthful message that the product treats the specifically listed symptoms.  The advertiser provided the results of a consumer perception study as support for its argument that consumers do not take away a misleading message from the “All in One” claim as it appears on the product label.

NAD rejected the advertiser’s consumer perception survey noting that methodology which involved leaving the label image on the screen as respondents answered the survey questions did not measure consumer takeaway, but functioned instead as a reading test.  Notwithstanding its rejection of the advertiser’s consumer perception survey, NAD concluded that the advertiser’s “All in One” claim, as it appears in the context of a list of symptoms treated which appeared on the product label, a 30-second commercial, and the challenged online retail product descriptions, reasonably conveys a limited and supported message that the product treats the enumerated symptoms all in one product, and not a broader overall cold and flu symptom relief message.  Consumers viewing the product label are not likely to miss or ignore that the claim is tied to the specific symptoms listed, because of their proximity and placement immediately adjacent to the claim at issue.  With regard to the 30-second commercial, each symptom is spoken by the narrator and highlighted by spanning the entire screen one-by-one.  Thus, the overarching message is that the product treats those specifically identified, not that it treats all symptoms.

NAD reached a different conclusion regarding a 15-second commercial, two 6-second videos, and print advertising with the headlines “On average, consumers experience 7+ symptoms during a cold,” and “Get tough on cold and flu symptoms.”  In these shorter commercials, without a sufficiently prominent and proximate limitation of the message to those symptoms treated by the product, NAD determined that they reasonably convey the misleading message that the “All in One” product treats all cold and flu symptoms in one product.  NAD determined that the print advertising could convey a similarly misleading message. Consequently, NAD recommended that these advertisements be discontinued.

In its advertiser’s statement, Reckitt Benckiser stated that it will comply with NAD’s recommendations and that it is “pleased that NAD found that the Mucinex packaging and advertising was clear and conveyed the limited supported message that the Mucinex All-In-One product relieves all of the enumerated symptoms all-in-one product.”

Note: A recommendation by NAD to modify or discontinue a claim is not a finding of wrongdoing and an advertiser’s voluntary discontinuance or modification of claims should not be construed as an admission of impropriety. It is the policy of NAD not to endorse any company, product, or service. Decisions finding that advertising claims have been substantiated should not be construed as endorsements.