NARB Recommends Reckitt Benckiser Modify Product Packaging, Disclose Basis for ‘#1 Recommended’ Claim

New York, NY – June 20, 2017 – A panel of the National Advertising Review Board has recommended that Reckitt Benckiser LLC modify product packaging for its Finish brand dishwasher detergent and more clearly disclose to consumers the basis for dishwasher manufacturer recommendations that support Reckitt Benckiser’s “#1 World’s Recommended Brand” claim.

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

Advertising claims made by Reckitt Benckiser for Finish were initially challenged before the National Advertising Division (NAD) by The Procter & Gamble Company, a competing manufacturer of dishwasher detergents.

In the underlying case, NAD found that Reckitt Benckiser’s “#1 World’s Recommended Brand” seal, which appeared in close proximity to product attribute claims, reasonably conveyed the message that Finish is the #1 world’s recommended brand based on those attributes.  NAD recommended that Reckitt Benckiser modify its product packaging to avoid referencing product attributes in close proximity to the “#1 World’s Recommended Brand” seal.

NAD also found that the record in this case wasn’t clear about the basis of recommendations made by dishwasher manufacturers, including whether some form of compensation was paid in exchange for the recommendation. NAD recommended that, to the extent Reckitt Benckiser provides compensation or other incentives to dishwasher manufacturers for their recommendations, it should disclose this connection when it advertises that it is the #1 World’s Recommended Brand.

Reckitt Benckiser appealed those recommendations.

Following its review, the NARB panel recommended that Reckitt Benckiser modify its product packaging so that product attribute claims do not appear in close proximity to the “#1 World’s Recommended Brand” seal, and do not include design elements – shape, color, font – that imply a connection between the product attribute claims and seal, in order to avoid conveying the unsupported message that the “#1 World’s Recommended Brand” claim is based on the specified product attribute.

The panel further recommended that Reckitt Benckiser clearly and conspicuously disclose to consumers the basis for dishwasher manufacturer recommendations that support its “#1 World’s Recommended Brand” claim. The panel stated its belief that it would be acceptable to disclose that these recommendations are part of co-marketing agreements with the dishwasher manufacturers as long as that accurately describes any connection between the detergent manufacturer and the dishwasher manufacturers that might materially affect the weight or credibility of the recommendations.

Reckitt Benckiser said in its advertiser’s statement that while it disagreed “with some of the panel’s reasoning and conclusions, we respect the panel’s recommendations and will take such recommendations into consideration in future advertising. We agree to make modifications to our packaging moving forward based upon the recommendations contained in the panel’s report. Reckitt Benckiser appreciates the panel’s careful review of the issues in this appeal.”

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.