NAD Recommends Church and Dwight Discontinue ‘2x,’ ‘4x’ Concentration Claims for Laundry Detergents

New York, NY – Dec. 18, 2013 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Church and Dwight discontinue unqualified “2x” and “4x” concentration claims for the company’s Arm & Hammer Ultra Power 4x Concentrated Liquid Laundry Detergent, Arm & Hammer 2x Concentrated Liquid Laundry Detergent and Xtra 2x Concentrated Liquid laundry detergents.

The claims at issue were challenged by The Dial Corporation, a Henkel company, which manufactures the competing Purex laundry detergent brand.

NAD, an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation, examined express claims that included:

  • “2X Ultra Detergent.”
  • “Ultra Power 4X Concentrated.”

NAD also considered whether the claims implied that Church & Dwight liquid laundry detergents are two or four times more concentrated than other products on the market.

NAD noted in its decision that detergent manufacturers introduced the use of the “2x” designation several years ago to alert consumers to an industry-wide reduction in the amount of detergent recommended per load – 1.5 ounces instead of 3 ounces. The “2x” designation, NAD noted, was not originally used to indicate comparative superiority.

In this case, however, the issue before NAD was whether consumers could reasonably take away the unsupported message that CHD’s products are more concentrated than other products on the market, or whether consumers would interpret the claims as stand-alone descriptions of the products’ relative concentrations.

Following its review of the evidence in the record, NAD determined that one of the messages reasonably conveyed by CHD’s unqualified “2x” and “4x” concentration claims was that its products are two- or four-times more concentrated than the competing brands that share shelf space with CHD products and which do not make “x” concentration claims. However, such a message was unsupported because the vast majority of liquid laundry detergents are currently sold at a 1.5 oz. dose concentration (with a small percentage of detergents selling at even higher dose concentrations).  Arm & Hammer 2x and Xtra 2x detergents are no more concentrated than these detergents, and Ultra Power 4x is only about twice as concentrated as such detergents.

NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue its unqualified “2x” and “4x” concentration claims to avoid conveying the unsupported message that CHD’s products are two- or four- times more concentrated than competing products which are sold at 1.5 oz. dosing and do not feature any concentration claims.

The advertiser noted that the “4x Concentrated” claims are part of the product names of Church & Dwight’s Arm & Hammer Ultra Power 4x Concentrated and Arm & Hammer Sensitive Skin 4x Concentrated detergents and argued that NAD “chose to depart from its own well-established precedent of requiring extrinsic evidence that consumers have been deceived before recommending that an advertiser change a product name.”

Nevertheless, the company said in its advertiser’s statement, “Church & Dwight remains committed to the self-regulatory process and will take NAD’s recommendations into consideration in future advertising.”