NAD Recommends Vogue Change Product Names for Certain Shampoos, Conditioners

New York, NY – May 20, 2015  – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Vogue, International, Inc., modify product names for certain shampoos and conditioners to avoid conveying the message that one exotic ingredient of the product provides a particular benefit.

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

Claims made by Vogue OGX Shampoos and Conditioners on its product packaging and in Internet and print advertisements were challenged by Unilever United States, Inc.

Unilever argued that Vogue placed the exotic ingredients adjacent to performance benefits in a manner which implied that the ingredient is present in the product at a level that provides the benefit and directed NAD’s attention to product names that included “Renewing Argan Oil of Morocco Shampoo,” “Anti-Breakage Keratin Oil Shampoo,” “Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo” and “Thick & Full Biotin & Collagen Shampoo.”

At the outset of NAD’s review, Vogue advised that it was in the process of revising its packaging and said the packaging revisions would make clear that the product formulations as a whole, rather than any specific ingredient, are responsible for the products’ benefits.

NAD appreciated the advertiser’s voluntary and permanent discontinuance of the challenged packaging claims, action NAD found necessary and appropriate given that the advertiser elected not to provide substantiation for the packaging claims.

Turning to the products’ names, the key issue before NAD was whether the link between the ingredient and the descriptor conveyed an express message about the benefits of the product.

Unilever submitted the results of a consumer perception survey in support of its position that OGX product names and product packaging conveyed a misleading message. NAD, however, had concerns about the reliability of the survey and independently reviewed the product names and packaging, using its own expertise to determine the messages conveyed.

Following its review, NAD determined that the product names made the unsupported express claims that the exotic ingredients provided the promoted benefit.

NAD noted in its decision that it is “cognizant of the burden placed upon an advertiser when a recommendation impacts product packaging and, especially, product names and is reluctant to recommend a product name change in the absence of extrinsic evidence of consumer confusion.”  However, NAD noted, such extrinsic evidence isn’t required when the product name itself makes an unsupported claim.

NAD recommended that the advertiser modify its product names to make it clear that the product ingredients, taken together, provide the claimed benefits –“Renewing Shampoo with Argan Oil,” for example, or  “Nourishing Shampoo with Coconut Milk

NAD also recommended that the advertiser discontinue claims that its “Weightless Hydration Coconut Water Shampoo” has “Zero SLS/SLES” or otherwise implying that the shampoo contains sulfate-free surfactants.

Vogue, in its advertiser’s statement, took issue with NAD’s findings, but said: “Despite these disagreements, Vogue respects the self-regulatory process and will comply with NAD’s recommendation to discontinue the claim and will take NAD’s recommendations into account in future advertising.”