NAD Recommends Diversey Discontinue Certain Claims for Cryovac Resealable Storage Bags Following Challenge by S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.

New York, NY – May 16, 2018 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Diversey, Inc., discontinue certain challenged advertising claims for the company’s Cryovac reusable storage bags.

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, made by Diversey in a press release, print media, a YouTube video, and at the cryovacbags.com and amazon.com websites were challenged by S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc., the maker of competing Ziploc resealable plastic storage bags.

During the course of NAD’s investigation, Diversey modified or permanently discontinued all but one comparative claim and modified certain comparative claims so that the claims no longer conveyed a message of comparative superiority.

NAD’s review focused on related claims that referenced strength, durability, and resistance to tearing or leaking, including:

  • “Better minimum bag thickness than Ziploc – 2.5 mil vs 2.4 mil”
  • “Better minimum bag thickness than Ziploc – 1.68 mil vs 1.66 mil”
  • “Better minimum bag thickness than Ziploc – 1.15 mil vs 1 mil”
  • “Strong film stands up to rough handling conditions.”
  • “EXTRA THICK WALL CONSTRUCTION stands up to rough handling.”
  • “WELDED CORNERS minimize ripped side seams and leaks.”
  • “Cryovac resealable food storage bags provide increased operational efficiency, extended shelf life and reduced food waste.”
  • “Quart size and larger [Cryovac] bags feature sonically welded zipper corners to greatly reduce leaks and tears.”

NAD also considered whether the advertising at issue implied that Cryovac bags are stronger or better than Ziploc brand bags.

As NAD noted in its decision, the challenger explained, and Diversey did not dispute, that a thicker bag is not necessarily better. Bags are constructed of a mixture of several kinds of plastic, each of which represents a tradeoff between cost and strength.  Other factors, such as the environment in the plant at the time of manufacture, also affect strength.  Without evidence in the record to support the reasonably conveyed message that “better minimum bag thickness” provides a stronger or more durable bag, NAD recommended that Diversey discontinue its comparative bag thickness claims and avoid conveying a message that thicker bags are better bags.

NAD determined that the advertiser had a reasonable basis for the claims “WELDED CORNERS minimize ripped side seams” and “Quart size and larger [Cryovac] bags feature sonically welded zipper corners to greatly reduce … tears” when used in a non-comparative context, but found that the advertiser did not have a reasonable basis for claims that the bag’s welded corners “greatly reduce leaks” and “minimize … leaks” and recommended those claims be discontinued.

NAD also recommended that Diversey discontinue its claim that the bags stand up to rough handling conditions.

Finally, NAD determined that the advertiser had a reasonable basis for claims that “Cryovac resealable food storage bags provide increased operational efficiency, extended shelf life and reduced food waste.”

NAD noted its appreciation of the advertiser’s voluntary discontinuance of the following claims:

  • “The market leader’s gallon and quart bags experienced 42% failure rates on a 20-second leak test.  Cryovac’s rate of failure was 0%”
  • “In a lateral pull test where the bag rips down the side seam, Cryovac’s strength is nearly double that of the market leader”
  • “Cryovac bags protect with industry-best film strength, side seals, and sonically welded zipper corners”
  • “[Cryovac] bags were developed with industry-leading side seals and leak resistance technology to outperform other leading resealable bags.”

The voluntarily discontinued claims will be treated, for compliance purposes, as though NAD recommended their discontinuance and the advertiser agreed to comply.

NAD also recommended that Diversey discontinue its claim that the bags stand up to rough handling conditions.

Finally, NAD determined that the advertiser had a reasonable basis for the claim that “Cryovac resealable food storage bags provide increased operational efficiency, extended shelf life and reduced food waste” when used in a non-comparative context. NAD further noted its appreciation at modifications made by the advertiser to several claims, including:

  • “Cryovac resealable food storage bags provide increased operational efficiency, extended shelf life and reduced food waste”
  • “WELDED CORNERS minimize ripped side seams and leaks”
  • “Quart size and larger [Cryovac] bags feature sonically welded zipper corners to greatly reduce leaks and tears”

The voluntarily modified claims will be treated, for compliance purposes, as though NAD recommended their modification and the advertiser agreed to comply.

Diversey, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company “agrees to follow the NAD’s recommendations although Diversey disagrees with a few of the NAD’s findings.”

Specifically, Diversey disagrees that its “better minimum bag thickness” claim is false or misleading and “notes that the evidence submitted was undisputed that the minimum bag thickness specifications in Diversey’s advertising was accurate.”

Diversey also “disagrees that its ‘greatly reduce leaks’ and ‘minimize … leaks’ claims are not substantiated.”

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.