NAD Finds General Mills Can Support “Now Even Better” Claim For Progresso Soup; Claim Challened By Campbell

New York, New York – Feb. 9, 2011– The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has determined that General Mills, Inc.,  can support the advertising claim “Now Even Better” as it is used on reformulated varieties of Progresso Light Soup. The advertising claim was challenged by Campbell Soup Company.

 

NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, noted in its decision that a claim that a product is “better” may be either a stand-alone claim or a comparative claim, depending on the context in which the claim appears.

 

In this case, NAD noted, the claim is included on reformulated versions of Progresso Light Soups.

 

The challenger asserted the claim was an unsubstantiated comparative superiority claim, and argued that consumers could infer that General Mills was comparing its new light soups to either a prior version of the product itself or – given the history of comparative advertising between the parties – to a competitive soup brand. Further, the challenger argued, if the claim referred to the previous version of the product, then General Mills should be required to disclose to consumers the specific improvements made in the products.

 

The advertiser argued that the claim would be understood by consumers to be a stand-alone claim that compares the reformulated soups to the previous line of light soups. The advertiser represented to NAD that it had increased the size of chicken pieces in five flavors of soup, increased the amount of vegetables in two flavors, improved the quality of beef in one flavor and decreased the amount of sodium in five flavors.

 

Following its review of the evidence in the record, NAD determined that the clear, plain meaning of the phrase “Now Even Better!” was an express reference to previous versions of Progresso Light soups and that the advertiser had provided sufficient evidence to support the claim. NAD considered but was not persuaded by the challenger’s argument that the claim should be qualified to disclose the actual

improvements made to the advertiser’s light soups.

 

General Mills, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company was pleased with NAD’s decisions and “appreciates the opportunity to participate in the NAD self-regulatory process.”