NAD Finds Chattem has Reasonable Basis for Claims that Xyzal Allergy 24 HR is “Nearly Half the Size” of Zyrtec” but Recommended Change to Disclosure

New York, NY – Feb. 20, 2019 –The National Advertising Division has determined that Chattem, Inc. provided a reasonable basis for claims that Xyzal Allergy 24HR is “nearly half the size” of Zyrtec. NAD recommended that the advertiser modify its original “half the size” claim to “nearly half the size” and to modify the accompanying disclaimer to state that the claim is based on the pills’ relative volume or dimensions, and to omit the references to dextrocetirizine in order to more clearly convey the basis for the claim.

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

The claims challenged by Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc. included:

  • “On first dose, provides the same relief as Zyrtec at only half the size.”
  • “Just as effective at half the size”
  • “Lasts 6x longer”

The key issues before NAD in this proceeding were whether the advertiser’s claims—that  its Xyzal tablet is “half the size” of the challenger’s Zyrtec tablet—appearing in its 15- and 30-second “Hall of Allergies” commercials”—are meaningful to consumers and whether these claims are accurate.

The advertiser informed NAD that prior to the commencement of this proceeding, it voluntarily permanently discontinued its claims that Xyzal lasts “Lasts 6x longer” than Benadryl” as well as the 15-second version of the commercial which made comparative references to Zyrtec. As such, NAD concluded that the “lasts 6x longer” claims were no longer appropriate for review in this forum. The advertiser’s current claim, “Lasts up to 6x longer” was not challenged by Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc. and NAD did not review this claim on the merits.

NAD found that, in this case, the size difference between the pills was consumer relevant as some consumers might prefer a smaller pill—even when the alternative is also a small pill—for a variety of reasons.  The size of a pill may matter particularly to consumers who have trouble swallowing pills and may want to swallow as small a pill as possible. Accordingly, NAD determined that the half the size claim was a consumer relevant feature that Chattem should be entitled to tout provided that it does so in an accurate, non-misleading manner.

NAD determined that, in context, the message reasonably conveyed by the advertiser’s claim was that “half the size” or “nearly half the size” referred to the pills’ relative volume or dimensions, and not to other measurements such as the amount of medicine contained in the pills or the pills’ mass.

NAD reviewed the advertiser’s support for this claim including its volume calculations which were based on a 3D modeling program widely used in the industry.  Upon reviewing the data, NAD was satisfied that Chattem had provided a reasonable basis for a “nearly half the size” claim.

In reaching this conclusion NAD considered, but was not persuaded by, the challenger’s argument that the drawings used to generate the 3D model overstated the significance of certain measurements—differences that Chattem explained, even if accurate, were microscopic and less than a tenth of a millimeter. NAD found, however, that a revision of the claim to “nearly half the size” was sufficient to address this potential concern.

Consequently, NAD recommended that the advertiser modify its claim to “nearly half the size” and to modify the accompanying disclaimer to state that the claim is based on volume and to omit the references to dextrocetirizine in order to more clearly convey the basis for the claim.

In its advertiser’s statement, Chattem stated that it is pleased with NAD’s determination that it has a right to tout the differences between Xyzal—the latest OTC allergy medication—and competing products, including that Xyzal is nearly half the physical size of Zyrtec.

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.