NAD Recommends P&G Discontinue Comparative Claim in Advertising for ‘Ultra Downy April Fresh’

New York, New York – May 27, 201 1– The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has determined that Procter & Gamble Co. took proper action in voluntarily discontinuing a television commercial that included an unsupported message of product superiority for Ultra Downy April Fresh Liquid fabric softener. NAD recommended the company modify or discontinue another commercial that conveyed the same unsupported message.

The claims at issue were challenged before NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, by Sun Products Corporation, maker of Snuggle Blue Sparkle concentrated fabric softener. Key to NAD’s decision was the analysis of consumer-perception evidence presented by the challenger.

NAD examined claims that included:

  • “What if clean sheet day became clean sheet week?”
  • “New Ultra Downy April Fresh with Scent Pearls gives a whole week of freshness with just one wash.” 
  • “And from day one to day seven Ultra Downy April Fresh lets you climb into more freshness for 7 days than this other fabric softener.” (alongside a side-by-side visual of Ultra Downy April Fresh with a stack of seven sheets and Snuggle Fabric Softener with no sheets)
  • “Get More. Feel More.”
  • “Get More Freshness.”

At the outset of NAD’s review, P&G asserted that it had discontinued the first of the three broadcast advertisements challenged by Sun Products and, during the course of NAD’s review, the company discontinued the second advertisement.

NAD determined that the third commercial also conveyed the unsupported message that the challenger’s Snuggle’s fresh scent lasts for one day as opposed to the advertiser’s Downy which lasts for seven days and recommended the advertiser discontinue that the comparative message.

Procter & Gamble, in its advertiser’s statement, said that while the company has “some concerns with NAD’s conclusions regarding the survey data and the express and implied claims in the advertisement, we are strongly committed to the self-regulatory process, and will take NAD’s recommendations into account in developing future comparative advertising.”