NAD Finds Line Claim in Ads for Perdue’s Organic Chicken Brand, Recommends Advertiser Modify, Discontinue Broadcast, YouTube Spots; Perdue to Appeal

New York, NY – April 27, 2018 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Perdue Farms, Inc., modify or discontinue broadcast and YouTube ads for the company’s Harvestland Organic sub-brand, following its finding that the advertising at issue reasonably conveyed the message that all Perdue chickens are raised using organic farming methods.

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 were challenged by Tyson Foods, Inc., and included the express claim that Perdue’s chickens are “happy.”

NAD also considered whether the advertising implied that Perdue has changed the way that it raises all its chickens, that all Perdue chickens are raised “organically” or that all Perdue chickens are happy.

NAD has previously held that while advertisers should be free to communicate truthful information about how their animals are raised, they should avoid promoting a level of animal care that exceeds the actual conditions in a way that could potentially mislead consumers.

NAD noted in its decision that the challenged television and YouTube commercials – “Free Range” and “All-Veggie Diet” – featured numerous visual and verbal general brand references to Perdue, but presented only momentary visual references to Harvestland Organic, a Perdue sub-brand.

Neither commercial called out the Harvestland Organic sub-brand by name, although the voiceovers in each clearly stated the general claim, “Perdue, raising more organic chickens than anyone in America.”

NAD noted that Perdue submitted a consumer perception survey to support its position that the challenged advertising was narrowly and truthfully tailored to Perdue’s Harvestland Organic line of products, but NAD’s review of the survey showed that substantially more respondents took away a message about the Perdue brand, generally.

Following its review, NAD determined that the broadcast and YouTube advertising communicated a line claim and that consumers could reasonably understand all of Perdue’s chickens to be organic rather than the chickens sold under the Harvestland Organic sub-brand.

NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the broadcast and YouTube commercials or modify them – including the YouTube description copy – to make clear that the advertising pertains to Perdue’s Harvestland Organic sub-brand, and not the Perdue brand as a whole. NAD also determined that if the commercials were appropriately modified, the advertiser’s use of “hashtag happy” would not be misleading.

Following its review of the content at Perdue’s website, NAD found that the website content did not imply a claim that all of Perdue’s chickens are organic and accordingly did not recommend any modifications to the website.

NAD also noted that to the extent that all of Perdue’s chickens are 100 percent vegetarian-fed or raised without the use of antibiotics or have other general brand-applicable features, nothing in its decision prevents Perdue from promoting those qualities for all of its chickens.

Perdue said it will appeal NAD’s adverse findings to the National Advertising Review Board.

“Perdue intends to appeal, in the context of the advertising reviewed by the NAD, the NAD’s recommendation that Perdue should discontinue or modify its television and YouTube commercials to make more clear that the organic claim pertains to Perdue’s Harvestland Organic sub-brand, and not the Perdue brand as a whole,” the company said.

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.