NAD Recommends ‘Dutch Glow’ Maker SAS Group Discontinue Performance, Pricing Claims Challenged by SCJ

New York, NY – Oct. 19, 2015 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that SAS Group, Inc., the maker of Dutch Glow Amish Wood Milk Furniture Cleaner & Polish, discontinue advertising claims, “before and after” photographs and product demonstrations that were challenged by S.C. Johnson and Son, Inc. NAD further recommended that the company modify or discontinue its “100% Money Back. Guaranteed” claim.

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

NAD examined claims that included:

  • “Crafty chemical companies have deceived us for generations. Once you start using their furniture polishes, you have to keep adding more and more layers just to create a false shine.”
  • “We cleaned half of this dining room table with Dutch Glow and broke open a down pillow to prove Dutch Glow does not attract dust like other products.”
  • “When you use Dutch Glow, you’ll clean less often.”
  • “The simple ingredients in Dutch Glow break down years of wax buildup. . .”
  • “Before” and “after” photographs
  • Comparative product demonstrations
  • “100% Money Back. Guaranteed.”
  • “Buy 1, Get 1. Now Only $10 Plus S&P.”

NAD determined that the challenged advertising reasonably conveyed the messages that all competing furniture polishes are ineffective at polishing wood and other surfaces for which they are intended and that Dutch Glow is more effective than competing furniture polishes as demonstrated by the dramatic transformations of dull and damaged wood and other surfaces shown in the advertising.

The advertiser explained that Dutch Glow is a wood cleaner which it markets, sells, and distributes through TV advertisements, on the Internet, and through large retail chains. In support of the challenged claims, visuals and product demonstrations, the advertiser relied on consumer reviews of a predecessor product, news reports, and an affidavit from the producer of the commercial affirming the accuracy of the depictions and demonstrations.

In its decision, NAD explained that the best supporting evidence for comparative performance claims is head-to-head testing on the products themselves.  The product testing should be conducted under consumer relevant conditions, using accepted methodology and protocols, and should relate directly to the advertising claims.   NAD further noted that comparative product demonstrations must fairly and accurately reflect the results that consumers will typically see and experience when they use and compare the two products and that the advertiser should avoid overstating the extent of any demonstrated superiority and avoid distorting the characteristics of their own, or competing, products.

In this case, there was no evidence in the record that the predecessor product was the same or even substantially similar to Dutch Glow.  Even if there were such evidence in the record, and regardless of the accuracy and sincerity of the reviewer, NAD noted that  the totality of the evidence submitted by the advertiser constituted anecdotal evidence which was not sufficiently reliable to support the challenged performance claims, “before” and “after” photographs and product demonstrations.

NAD recommended the advertiser discontinue the challenged claims, “before” and “after” photographs and product demonstrations.

With regard to the pricing claims, due to the time-restricted nature of “free” claim, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue advertising its “Buy 1, Get 1” claim pursuant to Federal Trade Commission’s  “Free” Guides until such time as it can resume advertising such an offer.  At that time, NAD recommended that the advertiser clearly and conspicuously disclose the exact amount of shipping and processing and that there is a $2 surcharge for online orders. NAD also recommended that claim “100% Money Back. Guaranteed” be discontinued or modified to expressly state that that the $15.90 shipping and handling fee and $2 Internet fee will not be refunded.

SAS took issue with NAD’s findings regarding the company’s pricing claims and noted in its advertiser’s statement that it “believes that the performance claims and product demonstrations regarding the effectiveness of the product on wood surfaces, are supported by hundreds of consumer reviews for the product.”

“SAS believes such consumer experiences about the efficacy of Dutch Glow satisfies the NAD criteria that performance claims must have a ‘reasonable basis,’” the company said.

However, the company said, it “remains committed to the self-regulatory process, and will take the NAD’s recommendations regarding independent testing to support product performance claims and the NAD’s other recommendations into consideration in developing future advertising.”

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.