NAD Finds Certain of Blue Diamond’s Claims for ‘Almond Breeze’ to be Puffery, Recommends Advertiser Discontinue Exclusivity Claim

New York, NY – May 15, 2017 – The National Advertising Division has determined that certain challenged advertising claims made by Blue Diamond Growers for its Almond Breeze almond milk are puffery and don’t require substantiation. However, NAD recommended the advertiser discontinue claims that Almond Breeze is the only almond milk made with Blue Diamond almonds.

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 claims at issue in this case were challenged by WhiteWave Foods, the maker of Silk almond milk products.  Challenged claims included:

  • “Maybe Almond Breeze tastes so good because it’s the only almond milk made with California-grown, Blue Diamond almonds.”
  • “The best almonds.”
  • “The best almonds make the best almond milk.”

WhiteWave argued that the challenged claims, as they appear within a Blue Diamond commercial for Almond Breeze almond milk, are unsupported comparative claims that communicate to consumers that the taste and quality of Almond Breeze is superior to other almond milk brands (including its Silk brand).

Blue Diamond contended that its claims are merely puffery and constitute statements of corporate pride in Blue Diamond’s products.

NAD has previously recognized that the use of vague or fanciful superlatives that do not suggest an objective measure of superiority can be puffery.  However, when superlatives like “best” or “greatest” are accompanied by specific attributes that suggest a product is comparatively better in a measurable way, the claim is unlikely to be interpreted as pure puffery.  Further, in many of NAD’s puffery cases, the determination of puffery turned on whether the claim at issue is featured in a comparative context.  For example, NAD has noted that “best” claims can be either provable or disprovable substantive claims or mere puffery depending on the context of the entire advertisement.

After reviewing the challenged commercial, NAD determined that when the “best almonds make the best almond milk” tagline is viewed in the entire context of the commercial, the overall message reflects Blue Diamond’s corporate pride in its product and not a comparative claim for which consumers would expect substantiation.

Notwithstanding its finding that the claim, as a whole, does not communicate a taste preference message or a message of superior quality, NAD was concerned about the accuracy of the second-half of the claim, stating that Almond Breeze is “the only almond milk made with California-grown, Blue Diamond almonds.”

Although Blue Diamond only uses California-grown, Blue Diamond almonds in its Almond Breeze almond milk, the evidence in the record does not establish that Almond Breeze is the only almond milk made with these almonds.  Blue Diamond explained that it sells its almond base to its bulk-purchase manufacturing partners.  However, Blue Diamond was unable to confirm that none of these manufacturing partners use this almond base to make private label almond milks.

With that in mind, NAD concluded that the evidence couldn’t support the claim that Almond Breeze is “the only almond milk made with California-grown, Blue Diamond almonds” and recommended that it be discontinued.

NAD further determined, as it appears within the context of the challenged commercial, consumers are not likely to take away a misleading superior quality message or a taste preference message from Blue Diamond’s claim that “the best almonds make the best almond milk.”

Blue Diamond, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company “appreciates the opportunity to participate in the self-regulatory process and thanks NAD for its efforts in resolving this matter.”

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.