NARB Recommends Reynolds Discontinue ‘Costs Less Than Glad’ Claim in Two Television Commercials

New York, NY – Aug. 10, 2017 – A panel of the National Advertising Review Board has recommended that Reynolds Consumer Products, LLC, maker of Hefty Ultra Strong trash bags, discontinue claims that its product “Costs less than Glad.”

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

Claims made by Reynolds were challenged by The Clorox Company, maker of competing Glad trash bags.

The challenged claims were made in television and radio commercials and included:

  • “Wimpy, Wimpy, Wimpy”
  • “Costs less than Glad.”

In the underlying case, NAD found that the challenged television commercials reasonably conveyed a message as to the relative lack of strength and performance capability of Glad trash bags, and recommended that Reynolds discontinue the performance comparative portion of challenged television commercials. Reynolds agreed to comply with this recommendation.

The NAD also found consumers could reasonably take away the message that the “Costs less than Glad” claim in the challenged television commercials referred to Hefty and Glad brands in general – a line claim – and not just the Hefty Ultra Strong trash bag featured in the advertisements compared to the equivalent premium level Glad kitchen trash bags.

NAD further found that any unqualified price comparison between Hefty and Glad trash bags should include all stores where either product is sold to consumers, including warehouse and club stores. NAD concluded that the price data submitted by Reynolds did not provide a reasonable basis for the “costs less” claim, and recommended that the claim be discontinued. Reynolds appealed that recommendation.

In support of the challenged advertising, Reynolds offered market data showing a head-to-head comparison of Hefty and Glad premium kitchen trash bag prices for the period of time identified in the advertisements. Reynolds relied on data that only compared pricing at retail outlets where both products are sold.

Clorox offered broader market data showing a head-to-head comparison of the entire line of Hefty and Glad trash bag prices in retail outlets that included warehouse/club stores. A comparison of prices over the entire line of Hefty and Glad trash bag prices showed that the average price of Glad bags was cheaper.  Clorox also offered market data showing a head-to-head comparison of all Hefty and Glad kitchen bags (including both premium and non-premium) in retail outlets that included warehouse/club stores; this data showed, in the 52-week period referenced in the challenged advertising, that the average price of Glad kitchen trash bags was lower than the average price of Hefty kitchen trash bags in 24 out of 52 weeks.

The panel agreed with the NAD that Reynolds’ pricing evidence was robust and showed that, in many retail outlets where both products are sold, Hefty premium tall kitchen trash bags were priced lower than comparable Glad kitchen trash bags. The panel agreed with the NAD that this data may be sufficient to support a narrower product and market specific lower-price claim.

The panel also agreed with the NAD that one of the messages reasonably conveyed by the challenged television commercials is a line claim that all Hefty trash bags cost less than comparable Glad trash bags. The panel agreed with NAD that Reynolds’ data wasn’t sufficient to support this message.

The panel recommended that Reynolds discontinue the challenged “Cost less than Glad” claim, but noted that the decision does not preclude Reynolds from making a truthful, narrower low-price claim that is both product- and market-specific.

Reynolds, in its advertiser’s statement, said that while it disagreed with NARB’s decision, the company is “committed to the self-regulatory process by which this Final Decision was rendered, and in that spirit, will take the NARB’s recommendations into consideration when making claims in the future.”