NARB Refers Rust-Oleum to FTC After Company Fails to Comply with Panel’s Recommendation

New York, NY – June 2, 2017 – The National Advertising Review Board (NARB) has referred advertising claims made by Rust-Oleum Corporation to the Federal Trade Commission for further examination, after a determining the company has not complied with NARB’s recommendation to discontinue use of “2X” as part of the Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover product name.

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 Rust-Oleum were initially challenged before the National Advertising Division (NAD) by The Sherwin Williams Company, a competing manufacturer of spray paint products.

NAD recommended that the challenged 2X coverage claims, including the product name, and visuals, be discontinued. NAD also recommended that Rust-Oleum discontinue its “more solids and pigments” claim. Rust-Oleum agreed to accept NAD’s recommendations except for the recommendation that Rust-Oleum change its product name, which Rust-Oleum appealed.

The appellate panel agreed with NAD that the product’s original name – Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover 2X – and current name – Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover – reasonably

conveyed a performance claim that the product delivers twice the coverage of other spray paint products, noting that this message applied to both competing products as well as other paint products from Rust-Oleum that are not labeled as “2X.”

While Rust-Oleum argued that reasonable consumers could interpret “2X Ultra Cover” or “Ultra Cover 2X” as indicating something other than a claim that the product delivers twice the coverage as other products, the panel concluded that a double coverage performance claim is the natural reading of the product name.

Because the record did not show that Rust-Oleum’s Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover spray paint delivers twice the coverage of other spray paints, the panel recommended that Rust-Oleum discontinue use of “2X” as part of the Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover product name.

Rust-Oleum took issue with NARB’s decision, but noted in its advertiser’s statement that “as a supporter of voluntary industry self-regulation, Rust-Oleum will take the Panel’s recommendations into consideration in formulating product labeling and advertising.”

Now, more than seven months after agreeing to comply with the NARB panel’s decision, the NARB chair has determined that Rust-Oleum’s new product label fails to comply with the NARB panel recommendation.

As the compliance decision states, the NARB panel recommendation was simple: “The panel recommends that Rust-Oleum discontinue use of ‘2X’ as part of the Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover product name.”

The revised label continues to prominently feature “2X” in its product name, and has added only an inconspicuous disclaimer saying “Compared to other Rust-Oleum general purpose paints.” It also features the claim “Made with Double Cover Technology” and the graphic depiction of one can = two cans. NAD had earlier recommended that both of these claims be discontinued, and Rust-Oleum agreed to accept that recommendation for future advertising.

Pursuant to the procedures governing the self-regulatory system, this matter is being referred to the FTC for further review.

Note: A recommendation by NARB 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 NARB not to endorse any company, product, or service. Decisions finding that advertising claims have been substantiated should not be construed as endorsements.