NAD Recommends Coty Discontinue ‘Gel Manicure’ Claims for Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish; Company to Appeal

New York, NY – Jan. 18, 2017 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Coty, Inc., discontinue certain claims for the company’s Sally Hansen Miracle Gel, including claims that the product produces a result equivalent to a salon gel manicure.

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

The claims at issue, made in television, internet, social media and in-store displays were challenged by Revlon Consumer Products, maker of competing gel nail polishes.

Challenged claims included:

  • “It’s the breakthrough 2-step gel manicure: color + top coat, with zero light needed!”
  • “OMGel! Let natural light do the rest!”
  • “The #1 zero light gel system!”
  • “In just two easy steps get up to 14 days of color & shine.”
  • “[M]ore chip-resistant than regular nail polish.”
  • “A real Gel. No UV/LED Light Needed!”
  • “Cures in Natural Light.”
  • “How is Miracle Gel™ different from a gel manicure or traditional nail polish? Miracle Gel™ is the first-ever part-lacquer, part-gel manicure system that delivers up to 14 days of color and shine in just 2 easy steps. Miracle Gel™ delivers the high shine, glossy look of a salon gel manicure with no UV/LED lamp or base coat needed!”
  • “The Miracle Gel™ Color and Top Coat work together as a system to create a durable manicure with high gloss shine… The advanced Color and Top Coat formulas both contain an oligomer; the Top Coat also includes a photoinitiator. The photoinitiator activates a bond between the Color and Top Coat, thus curing the formula in natural light without the need of an LED/UV lamp. The formula continues to cure over time, increasing durability of the manicure.”
  • Miracle Gel is “the ONLY TRUE 2-STEP GEL MANICURE with no light needed.”
  • “[a] true gel manicure without the UV light” (Twitter)

NAD also considered whether the advertising implied that the product is a gel nail productor that consumers who use the Sally Hansen product will experience the same quality and long-term durability as that of a professional salon gel manicure

The challenger in this case argued that Coty’s claims communicated to consumers that Miracle Gel is a true “gel” and that it offers the same quality and long-term durability associated with professional salon gel manicures, when that is not the case.

The advertiser, meanwhile, maintained that consumers’ common understanding of “gel” is based on how the product looks and feels: like a soft, semi-solid jelly-like substance. Given that Miracle Gel looks and feels like a gel, references to “gel” in its advertising are literally true and not misleading.  The advertiser also contended that an appreciable number of consumer will achieve the promised results of “up to 14 days” color and shine and will not will not reasonably understand its claims as promising the equivalent results of a salon gel manicure lasting two weeks or more.

NAD determined that the challenged advertisements reasonably conveyed the messages to consumers that by using Miracle Gel, they can achieve the equivalent benefits of a salon gel manicure, providing the same color, shine and durability. NAD then considered whether those messages were adequately substantiated.

Following its review, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the following claims:

  • Miracle Gel provides “up to 14 days color and shine”
  • “the breakthrough 2-step gel manicure: color + top coat, with zero light needed”
  • “Let natural light do the rest”
  • The #1 zero light gel system!”
  • “A real Gel. No UV/LED Light Needed”
  • “Cures in Natural Light”
  • “the ONLY TRUE 2-STEP GEL MANICURE with no light needed.” 

NAD also recommended that the advertiser discontinue certain descriptive language in the FAQ section of its website.

NAD noted that nothing in its decision precludes the advertiser from promoting its Miracle Gel product as distinct from regular enamel nail polish, as long as the advertiser avoids conveying the unsupported message that the product confers the equivalent or substantially similar benefits of a professional gel manicure and makes it clear to consumers that the product is an enamel nail polish containing enhancements designed to improve color and/or shine.

Further, NAD concluded that the evidence in the record provided a reasonable basis for the advertiser’s stand-alone claim that Miracle Gel is “more chip-resistant than regular nail polish.”

Coty, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company “supports the self-regulatory process and is appreciative of the NAD’s review of this matter. Notwithstanding, Coty is appealing NAD’s recommendation that Miracle Gel not be referred to as a ‘no-light gel/gel without the light,’ and its recommendation that Coty discontinue its claim, ‘up to 14 days of color and shine.’”

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.