NAD Recommends Schmidt‘s Deodorant Co. Discontinue Certain Claims Challenged by Tom’s of Maine; Finds Schmidt’s Can Support Crowd-Sourced Claim

New York, NY – Nov. 2, 2017  – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Schmidt‘s Deodorant Company discontinue claims, including consumer testimonials, that its Natural Deodorant Products “absorb” or “help absorb” wetness and moisture.  The advertiser has said it will appeal that adverse finding to the National Advertising Board.

NAD also determined that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis for its “10,000 5 Star Reviews” claim, but recommended that when the advertiser ties that claim to customers’ product satisfaction, it also modify the claim to accurately reflect the number of five-star reviews actually based on product satisfaction.

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 were challenged by Tom’s of Maine, Inc., and included:

  • Effectively neutralizes odors and absorbs wetness
  • Long lasting protection against odor and wetness
  • Absorbs wetness with plant and mineral derived ingredients
  • Natural plant-based powders to immediately absorb wetness
  • Help avoid wetness
  • Help to keep you dry
  • Helps keep you dry no matter what activity you choose
  • Schmidt’s deodorant will truly change your life!
  • At Last!!! I found the miracle
  • If you are looking to make the switch to a natural deodorant that helps absorb wetness without aluminum, check out Schmidt’s products…
  • Schmidt’s does absorb wetness with plant-based powders instead of using aluminum to choke out your sweat glands
  • Plant-based powders help absorb wetness without aluminum
  • People are saying it’s “the only natural deodorant that really works!”
  • Hands down the best natural deodorant we’ve ever used.
  • They said that natural deodorant never works.  Until we came along.
  • It, hands down, works better than any store bought, traditional deodorant you usually wear.
  • Over 10,000 5 Star Reviews

NAD also considered whether the challenged advertising implied that:

  • Schmidt’s products provide wetness protection benefits at the same level as antiperspirants
  • Schmidt’s products provide superior wetness protection benefits to all other traditional and natural deodorants
  • Schmidt’s deodorants are the only deodorants that work

According to the challenger, deodorants represent 20 percent of the underarm protection category of products and antiperspirants represent 80 percent of the market.  Deodorants, which provide protection from underarm odor, are classified as cosmetics under the US Food and Cosmetic Act and are regulated by the Food & Drug Administration. Antiperspirants, formulated with aluminum salts to reduce perspiration, are over-the-counter drugs and regulated by the FDA under a final monograph.

Tom’s contended that Schmidt’s sells deodorants in both stick and cream forms which the advertiser says will absorb wetness, claims more often associated with antiperspirants.

NAD first reviewed the claims at issue to determine the messages the claims reasonably conveyed.

The advertiser’s express claims that Schmidt’s “absorbs wetness” and “helps keep you dry” convey an express message that Schmidt’s provides wetness protection benefits.  Further, Schmidt’s advertising compares its benefits to those of antiperspirants with claims like “provides wetness protection without aluminum,” “Schmidt’s does absorb wetness with plant-based powders instead of using aluminum to choke out your sweat glands, and “Plant-based powders help absorb wetness without aluminum.”  Although Schmidt’s argued that its advertising conveyed a message that its deodorant products are an alternative to antiperspirants for consumers who wish to avoid antiperspirants, NAD determined that at least one message reasonably conveyed by its advertising is that Schmidt’s deodorants can be used as substitutes for antiperspirant and provide the same or similar benefits.

As support for its wetness protection benefits, Schmidt’s submitted evidence that included articles on the absorbent capabilities of ingredients in the product, in vitro testing on the absorbent qualities of the product and a consumer survey about the efficacy of Schmidt’s deodorants.

Following its review of the advertiser’s evidence, NAD concluded that the advertiser’s testing was not sufficiently reliable to support the challenged performance claims that Schmidt’s deodorant absorbs wetness or helps absorb wetness and recommended that Schmidt’s discontinue its claims, including consumer testimonials, that its products “absorb,” or “help absorb” moisture and wetness.

Turning to the “five-star” review claim, NAD noted in its decision that the advertiser “demonstrated that the reviews upon which it relies are verified and not double-counted.”

Schmidt’s submitted 5,000 verified reviews gathered by Shopper Approved from consumers who purchased Schmidt’s deodorants directly through the Schmidt’s website.  In addition, they submitted more than 5,000 verified reviews from Amazon, from consumers who purchased the product on Amazon.com.  NAD concluded the advertiser had a reasonable basis for its “10,000 5 Star Reviews” claim.

Schmidt’s, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company “agrees to comply with NAD’s recommendations as to the challenged five star claims” and “is pleased that the NAD recognized that Schmidt’s has provided a reasonable basis for its claim that it has over 10,000 five star reviews.” With respect to Schmidt’s claims regarding wetness absorption without aluminum, “Schmidt’s respectfully disagrees with the NAD’s findings and intends to pursue an appeal to the National Advertising Review Board. Schmidt’s has supported, and continues to support, any statements around the functionality of our products through various forms of testing and reports of user experience.”

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.