NAD Recommends Rust-Oleum Discontinue ‘2x’ Coverage Claims for ‘Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover 2X Spray Paint,’ Change Product Name; Company to Appeal

New York, NY – March 10, 2016 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Rust-Oleum Corporation discontinue claims that state or suggest its “Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover 2X Spray Paint” provides twice as much coverage as competing spray paint products and change the product name. Rust-Oleum said it will appeal NAD’s adverse finding to the National Advertising Review Board (NARB).

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

NAD reviewed the advertiser’s claims as they appeared on product packaging, in broadcast, print and website advertising and in a YouTube video following a challenge by The Sherwin-Williams Company, a competing manufacturer of Krylon paints and coatings.

Claims at issue included:

  • “Ultra Cover 2X”
  • “Twice the coverage”
  • “You’ll get twice the coverage in a single pass—which means your project will be done in half the time at half the cost of competitive brands.”

The product packaging featured a prominent “2X” adjacent to a gold seal and the statement “made with double cover technology; a picture of the Rust-Oleum product and two other paint cans to illustrate the claim that the coverage provided by one can of Rust-Oleum equals the coverage supplied by two cans of a competitor’s product.

The company’s website featured the claim: “The breakthrough technology of Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover 2X means you’ll get twice the coverage in a single pass—which means your project will be done in half the time at half the cost of competitive brands.” A YouTube commercial included the onscreen phrases “be twice as beautiful,” “be twice as colorful,” “get twice the coverage.”  And the Ultra Cover 2X brochure featured a depiction of the nearly flawless covered provided by one or two passes of Ultra 2X, compared with insufficient coverage provided by “Brand K” after one or two passes.

NAD concluded that the “Ultra Cover 2X” product name is an express performance claim because “2X” is followed directly by the claim “Cover.”  NAD further determined that the product name, product packaging, product brochure and Internet and broadcast advertisements reasonably conveyed the message that Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover 2X spray paints deliver twice the coverage of competing brands, including twice the coverage of Krylon.

NAD then assessed the advertiser’s product testing to determine if it provided a reasonable basis for the challenged claims. NAD took issue with the advertiser’s in-house testing from 2008 and independent testing from 2009 because they were conducted on products that were no longer in the marketplace.  NAD instead focused on the advertiser’s in-house comparative testing conducted in 2014 and 2015 on Krylon CoverMaxx and ColorMaster spray paints, respectively.

NAD expressed certain concerns relating to the methodology in both tests. First, NAD determined there were insufficient controls to prevent bias that can occur with in-house testing versus independent testing. Second, NAD found that it was unclear whether Krylon’s use instructions—which call for paint to be applied from a distance of 6-8 inches—were followed. Third, NAD expressed concern that any inherent or potential bias and deviations from product use instructions could materially affect the test results.

NAD found the advertiser’s testing showed that Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover 2X achieved 2X coverage only 47 percent of the time against representative samples of ColorMaster spray paints and achieved 2X coverage against representative samples of CoverMaxx spray paints only 51 percent of the time.  In addition, there was wide variability in coverage in the test results within each test as well as in the results for each color and finish between the 2014 and 2015 tests.

As for the claim “2X’s formulation contains more solids and premium pigments,” NAD determined that this claim is juxtaposed against a visual of the amount of solids and pigments in Ultra Cover with an arrow showing that “Brand K” has half the amount of solids and pigments than the Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover 2X spray paint depicted.  In this context, NAD determined that the message reasonably conveyed is that Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover 2X has twice the amount of pigments and solids than Krylon spray paints.  The advertiser did not submit any evidence as to the amount of pigments and solids in its Ultra Cover 2X spray paints.

Following its review of the evidence in the record, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the challenged 2X coverage claims, including the product name.  NAD further recommended that the visuals of coverage  after one and two passes depicting insufficient coverage for Krylon as compared to flawless coverage for Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover 2X be discontinued. Finally, NAD recommended that the claim “2X’s formulation contains more solids and pigments,” along with the accompanying visual, be discontinued.

Rust-Oleum, in its advertiser’s statement, said it “disagrees with NAD’s determination that the product name, Ultra-Cover 2X is unsupported.  Rust-Oleum does not believe that the statement ‘Ultra Cover 2X’ is a claim that  requires, as support, testing evidence that each color provides at least twice the coverage of each color (even non-matching colors) of competing general purpose paints. Rust-Oleum believes that this finding is inconsistent with NAD precedent, reasonable marketing practice and consumer understanding. Accordingly, Rust-Oleum is appealing from this portion of NAD’s decision.”