NAD Finds Euro-Pro Could Support Superior Performance Claim for ‘Shark Rocket,’ Recommends Company Discontinue Claims or Modify Disclosures Following Dyson Challenge

New York, NY – Oct. 16,  2014 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Euro-Pro Operating LLC discontinue advertising claims that imply the company’s “Shark Rocket” vacuum cleaner is superior to all other upright vacuums – including vacuums made by Dyson, Inc. – or modify the claim with more clear and conspicuous disclosures.

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

In this case, Dyson contended that an infomercial, product packaging, website contents and other advertising produced by Euro-Pro implied that the Shark Rocket was superior to all other upright vacuums, including all Dyson upright vacuum models.

Key to NAD’s decision was its review and analysis of the advertiser’s disclosures.

Euro-Pro contended that the advertising at issue was meant to draw a comparison between the Shark Rocket and the bright yellow Dyson DC40. The advertiser noted that in the infomercial, Euro-Pro explicitly identifies the DC40 as the Dyson model to which it compares the Shark Rocket no less than eleven times.

While NAD concluded that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis for its superior performance claim for its Shark Rocket as compared to the Dyson DC40, NAD found that the challenged advertising conveyed a broader comparative superiority message.

For example, on the product packaging, the advertiser made the prominent superiority claim “Deep Cleans BETTER vs. a Full Size Dyson*” on several panels of the box, while the disclosure language appeared at the bottom of a single panel and nowhere near the triggering language.

On the advertiser’s website page entitled, “Cleans better than a…Dyson full-size upright!*”, the disclosure, “Based on ASTM F608 cleanability testing of DC40 and HV300” appeared at the very bottom of the screen in barely legible type.

And throughout the infomercial, the advertiser claimed superiority to either a “full size upright” or expressly to the “Full Size Dyson.” The disclosures employed were either barely legible and or appeared only fleetingly onscreen and were never made in the audio portion of the infomercial.

To avoid the potential for consumer confusion, NAD recommended that the advertiser’s comparative superiority claim be either discontinued or modified to expressly limit the object of comparison to the Dyson DC40 upright vacuum and avoid any implication that the comparison being made is to any other Dyson upright.  Given the significant limitation of this information on the comparative performance claim, NAD recommended that the object of comparison be included in the language of the main claim itself and not relegated to a fine-print disclosure.

Euro-Pro, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company “intended to tell consumers that it was superior in deep cleaning carpets compared to the DC40 but it accepts that NAD found that some consumers could have taken away a broader message of superiority compared to additional Dyson models or to other competitive models.  As such it commits to modifying its infomercial, packaging and website in the way NAD has recommended, specifically to including reference to the DC40 model more clearly with the cleaning superiority and maneuverability claims.”