NAD Refers Advertising for Energizer’s Schick Hydro Razor to FTC

Company Declines to Abide by Terms of Earlier NAD Decisions

New York, NY – May 8,  2012 – The National Advertising Division has referred advertising claims made by Energizer Personal Care, LLC, to the Federal Trade Commission following a second compliance review of advertising claims made for the company’s Schick Hydro Razor.

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

In the underlying case, The Gillette Company challenged performance claims, implied claims and superiority claims made for the Schick Hydro Razor.

Among the claims that served as the basis of the initial inquiry were:

  • The “best shave for your skin.”
  • “like a blast of hydration to your face.”
  • “a water-activated gel reservoir that hydrates your skin as you shave.”
  • Offers “[h]ydration when you least expect it.”

NAD concluded that commercials featuring “water burst” imagery – apart from any portrayal of a razor or bathroom setting – conveyed the message that the product would continue to hydrate the user’s skin even after shaving.

In its first compliance proceeding, NAD noted that its findings regarding “water burst” or “drenching” scenarios were unequivocal and NAD reiterated its recommendation that the advertiser “discontinue its ‘water burst’ imagery outside of the context of shaving so as to avoid conveying the unsupported implied message that the hydration benefit achieved by the product extends beyond the shave period.”

In this second compliance proceeding, NAD reviewed the commercial for the Hydro Power Select razor and determined that its use of scenes depicting water burst imagery outside of the bathroom/shaving context – including one scene previously reviewed by NAD – clearly demonstrated that Schick had not made a bona fide good faith effort to bring its advertising into compliance with NAD’s recommendations.

The advertiser argued that it had commissioned a consumer-perception study that indicated the advertising did not convey a post-shave hydration message. The advertiser also noted that it had included a super – “hydrates during shaving.”

NAD noted in its decision that, according to its procedures, a case cannot be reopened absent extraordinary circumstances.  “The production of new evidence long after a decision has been rendered clearly does not constitute extraordinary circumstances,” NAD stated.

NAD determined that the use of water-burst imagery must be discontinued despite the use of the “hydrates during shaving” super because it contradicts the main message of the commercial.  Further, even if the super did not contradict the main message of the commercial, it was not sufficiently prominent, clear and conspicuous to assure consumers’ notice and understanding.

NAD, in its decision, said it is “extremely disappointed that Schick would run a new commercial which clearly does not comply with NAD’s decision.  Accordingly, since Schick has not made a bona fide attempt to comply with NAD’s recommendations, NAD concluded that the self-regulatory process has been exhausted and has no choice but to refer the matter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for possible enforcement action … .”

NAD’s inquiry was conducted under NAD/CARU/NARB Procedures for the Voluntary Self-Regulation of National Advertising.  Details of the initial inquiry, NAD’s decision, and the advertiser’s response will be included in the next NAD/CARU Case Report.