NAD Refers Conair’s ‘Most Trusted’ Claim to FTC After Company Declines to Participate in a Review of Challenged Advertising

New York, NY – May 21, 2018 – The National Advertising Division has referred to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the advertising claim made by Conair Corporation that its Cuisinart brand is “The Most Trusted Name in the Kitchen.”

The claim was challenged by Whirlpool Corporation, maker of KitchenAid kitchen appliances, and Conair declined to participate in NAD’s review of the claim.

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 claim at issue appears on product packaging for products that include Cuisinart brand food processors, choppers, blenders, coffee mills, coffee makers, fondue sets, toasters, countertop ovens, electric kettles, stand mixers, and black stainless cookware.

Whirlpool contended that when consumers see a “most trusted” claim on product packaging for countertop appliances, they have a reasonable expectation that the product bearing such a claim is in fact rated as the most trusted.  Whirlpool noted that it contacted Conair in 2017 requesting substantiation for or withdrawal of the claim.  Conair responded that the claim is puffery, and that Conair had trademarked the claim.  Whirlpool argued that a trademark cannot prevent the review of a substantive claim.

Whirlpool argued that Conair lacks survey support for the claim that Cuisnart is “The Most Trusted Name in the Kitchen” either as a general brand claim or for any specific product category.  Accordingly, Whirlpool requested that NAD recommend that Conair discontinue the challenged claim.

The advertiser, stating that it has been making the challenged claim for more than three years, said it would not participate because NAD does not allow advertisers to assert a defense that a challenge was unreasonably delayed.

NAD was disappointed that the advertiser declined to participate in the self-regulatory process.  NAD, like the FTC, reviews claims to ensure that advertising to consumers is truthful, accurate and not misleading, including advertising claims that have been on the market for some time.

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.