NAD Recommends Euro-Pro Modify, Discontinue Certain Claims, Finds Certain Claims Supported

New York, NY – Oct. 21,  2014 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Euro-Pro Operating, LLC modify or discontinue certain claims for the company’s Ninja Ultima blender, including claims that the Ninja Ultima is the “#1 Most Powerful Blender.” NAD determined, however, that the company could support certain claims

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 advertising claims at issue in this case were challenged by Vita-Mix Corporation, the maker of Vitamix blenders. A key issue before NAD was whether Euro-Pro’s “#1 Most Powerful Blender” claim offered a comparison to Vita-Mix products.

The challenger argued that the claim was made against blenders in general, while the advertiser – pointing at its disclosure – maintained that the claim referred exclusively blenders that retail at less than $250.

NAD noted in its decision that although Euro-Pro’s advertising includes a disclosure that purports to limit the claim to blenders that cost less than $250, the disclosure insufficiently clear and conspicuous. For example, NAD noted, the “#1” statement appears on the top corner of the front of the box, while the disclaimer appears in a tiny font on a different side panel of the box.

In addition to the small size of the disclosure font, NAD concluded that the substance of the disclosure contradicts the message conveyed by the claim itself. NAD noted that the Ninja Ultima packaging is replete with comparisons to the Vitamix 750 blender – a machine that retails for far more than $250 – and Ninja Ultima product packaging features a comparison chart that compares the Ultima to the Vitamix 750 on numerous parameters.

“In light of this overwhelmingly comparative, Vitamix-oriented advertising campaign,” NAD said, “a consumer would be reasonable to construe the ‘#1 Most Powerful Blender’ as a claim made in comparison to the Vitamix 750, and/or Vitamix blenders in general.

In support of its “most powerful” claim, Euro-Pro provided evidence demonstrating the wattage of its own Ninja Ultima alongside the wattage of competing blenders. Euro-Pro argued that a showing of superior wattage could substantiate its “most powerful” claim.

Although NAD acknowledged that advertisers are free to promote the wattage or horsepower of their blenders, NAD determined that Euro-Pro’s “most powerful” claim could also be reasonably understood as relating to the blender’s efficacy. Following its review, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue its “#1 most powerful blender” claim.

In addition, NAD recommended that the advertiser:

  • Modify claims that its blender runs at “24,000 RPM” claim by clearly and conspicuously disclosing that the claim is based on RPM at “freeload,” or when empty.
  • Either discontinue its “72 oz. capacity” claim, or modify the claim by clearly and conspicuously disclosing that the maximum capacity for liquids is 64 ounces.
  • Discontinue advertising its Ninja Ultima as a “soup maker,” and that it replaces “soup makers.”
  • Discontinue the claim that the Ninja Ultima—unlike the Vitamix—features “total crushing technology” when used in a comparative context.
  • Discontinue the claim that “the Ninja Ultima is 1/3 the cost of the Vita-Mix.”

NAD determined, however, that:

  • Euro-Pro’s “Single Serving Blending” claim was not misleading.
  • “Dual stage blending” was a descriptive claim rather than an implied superiority claim.
  • The phrase “beyond professional” qualified as puffery.
  • A comparison chart did not convey the message that the Ninja Ultima is superior to the Vitamix 750 in all respects.
  • The phrase “at a fraction of the cost” was supported.

Euro-Pro, in its advertiser’s statement, said that would adopt all of NAD’s recommendation for clarifying certain of its claims …”