NAD Recommends ViewSonic Discontinue Certain Claims for 1-Chip DLP Digital Projectors; Finds Certain Claims Supported

New York, NY – June 22,  2017 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that ViewSonic  Corporation discontinue certain claims, including “superior color accuracy” claims  made in a comparative context for the company’s 1-chip DLP digital projectors. However, NAD determined that the company could support versions of the claim where they appeared in a stand-alone context. That claim and others were challenged by Epson America, Inc., a maker of competing digital projectors.

NAD determined that the advertiser’s plain stating of its projectors’ ANSI lumens specification – an industry standard measure of a projector’s brightness calculated by projecting on an all-white screen on a projector’s brightest mode and measuring the output of light on specific points placed around the screen – does not mislead consumers.

However, NAD noted that when referencing the ANSI lumens specification in the context of its descriptive advertising, the advertiser sometimes referred to ANSI lumens or lumens in a manner that could reasonably convey the message that the measurement was related to a projectors’ color performance. NAD recommended that the advertiser modify its usage of ANSI lumens specifications to avoid conveying the reasonably implied messages that its projectors’ lumens specifications are related to the projectors’ color performance.

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

Both parties manufacture and market digital projectors.  ViewSonic projectors use 1-chip digital light processing (DLP) technology in its projectors, while Epson projectors use 3LCD (liquid crystal display) technology.

As NAD noted in its decision, the projector market is widely diversified, with numerous companies producing broad lines of products with different features and specifications for different settings – a darkened home theater, for example, a dimly lit classroom, or a bright, large auditorium. The challenged claims, some modified or discontinued over the course of the challenge, related to how well the advertiser’s products project colors, how the advertiser describes product specifications related to brightness, and how the advertiser describes other aspects of its technology, compared to the challenger’s technology.

During the course of the proceeding, the advertiser voluntarily and permanently discontinued certain comparative color claims. Those claims will be treated, for compliance purposes, as though NAD recommended their discontinuance and the advertiser agreed to comply.

Turning to the remaining color comparison claims, NAD determined that the advertiser’s “superior color performance claims” should be discontinued where they appeared in a comparative context. NAD found that “superior color accuracy” claims as they appeared in comparative contexts conveyed an unsupported superior performance message. NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue these claims. NAD also found that the claim “the ultimate in color accuracy without compromise” could convey the unsupported message that competing projectors do “compromise” in order to create accurate colors. NAD recommended that the advertiser modify this claim to avoid conveying potentially comparative messages.

NAD found that the adjective “wider” in the claim “wider color range” conveyed an unsupported comparative message, and accordingly, recommended the advertiser discontinue this claim. NAD determined that the claims “more realistic and accurate colors” and “superior, richer colors” claims conveyed a message about the general quality of the advertiser’s products when separated from other comparative claims, so long as the claims are separated from other claims that compare ViewSonic products to competing ones.

NAD found that the advertiser’s claim that its projectors are “based on the same DLP technology that Hollywood relies on” is substantiated.  However, NAD cautioned the advertiser to avoid using the claim in the context of describing the color or accuracy of the images from its projectors as 3-chip DLP projectors used in movie theater projection produce colors differently than the advertiser’s products.

NAD found the advertiser’s modified “maintenance” claims to be substantiated.

NAD determined that the advertiser’s “color decay” and “color degradation” claims, even as modified, conveyed unsupported denigrating messages about competing projectors and recommended that the claims be discontinued.

ViewSonic, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company “will comply with NAD’s recommendations,” although it “respectfully disagrees with NAD’s recommendations that certain other challenged claims should be modified or discontinued, but will take these recommendations into consideration in future advertising.  ViewSonic appreciates the opportunity to participate in NAD’s self-regulatory process.”

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.