NAD Finds BIC Can Support Claim to ‘Flexible Blades’ in Challenged Context, But Recommends Advertiser Revise Illustration on Some Packaging

New York, NY – Nov. 14, 2012  – The National Advertising Division has determined that that BIC USA Inc. can support claims that its BIC FLEX, Hybrid and Soleil Razors have “flexible blades” that provide an “ultra-smooth”, “incredibly close” or “flawless” shave.
However, NAD recommended that the advertiser revise an illustration on its packaging for the products to avoid implying that its razor blades actually bend.
NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
Energizer Personal Care, LLC, the maker of Schick razors, challenged BIC’s claims before NAD. The claims at issue appeared on product packaging, in print, broadcast and Internet advertising, and on point-of-purchase displays.
The challenger argued that the advertiser’s claims are false because the design and construction of its razors make it impossible for the assembled blades to actually bend or “flex” as the terms are commonly understood by consumers.
The advertiser argued that there is no industry standard that defines “flex” and that its BIC blades deflect from the contours of the skin with the application of a very small amount of pressure to prevent cuts to raised areas on the skin’s surface.
NAD determined that the claim “flexible blades” standing alone or in the context in which it appeared in challenged commercials and free-standing inserts did not convey the message that the blades are bendable.  However, NAD recommended that the advertiser revise some product packaging where the claim “flexible blades” was framed by two curved lines. In that context, NAD said, the claim may be interpreted to mean that the blades are bendable.
BIC, in its advertiser’s statement, said that the company, while pleased, “respectfully disagrees with NAD’s conclusion that the graphic design on some of BIC’s materials showing curved lines around the words ‘flexible blades’ potentially conveys any message to consumers, BIC will take NAD’s recommendation into account when designing graphics for its razor products.  BIC thanks NAD for its careful consideration of this matter and appreciates the opportunity to participate in the self-regulatory process.”