NAD RECOMMENDS DPSG DISCONTINUE CERTAIN SUPERIORITY CLAIMS FOR ‘MOTT’S GARDEN BLEND VEGETABLE JUICE’ Claims at Issue Challenged by V-8 Maker Campbell Soup

New York, NY – Jan. 23, 2012  –  The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business

Bureaus has recommended that Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. discontinue superior taste, product

description and implied false disparagement claims made in broadcast advertising for Mott’s Garden

Blend Vegetable Juice.

Campbell Soup, the maker of V8 vegetable juice, challenged certain advertising claims before NAD,

the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum. NAD considered whether the advertising at issue

conveyed an implied message that Mott’s Garden Blend Vegetable Juice tastes better than the

competitive product and the competitive product tastes disgusting.

(Full text of decision available to media upon request.)

In this case, NAD considered whether the challenged 30-second commercial conveyed superior taste

claim messages. The commercial featured a man and a woman, initially filmed in black and white. As

the man drinks from an unidentified bottle of vegetable juice, he makes unhappy faces.  As the

woman drinks from the bottle of Mott’s Garden Blend, her image turns to color and she states:

“Mmm, delicious.  It’s Mott’s Garden Blend.  I think it tastes like they picked fresh vegetables

straight from the garden and put them right in the bottle.”  When the man tries Mott’s, his image

turns to color and he states: “That was incredible.”

The advertiser initially argued that the challenged commercial had been discontinued prior to NAD

inquiry. Because the advertiser failed to provide confirmation of the permanent discontinuance of

both the commercial and the claims at issue, NAD asserted jurisdiction to review the challenged

claims.

NAD then examined the results of a consumer-perception survey offered by the advertiser as

support for its position that the advertising at issue did not convey superior taste claim messages.

NAD, in its decision, noted a number of concerns with the study’s methodology, including the design

of the questionnaire, which included a number of marketing questions along with questions aimed at

determining consumers’ perceptions of the advertising at issue.

Following its review of the evidence, NAD determined that the survey was materially flawed and,

consequently, unreliable to determine the messages reasonably conveyed by the commercial.

In the absence of reliable consumer perception evidence, NAD stepped into the shoes of consumer to

determine the messages conveyed. NAD concluded that the

challenged 30-second commercial was comparative in nature:

• The man was drinking a competing juice which, while not shown, could reasonably be

considered to be V8, the uncontested market leader.

• He clearly disliked the taste of his juice, further highlighted by the drab black-and-white in

which he remains until he drinks the Mott’s product.

• Both actors proclaimed how much they like the garden fresh taste of the Mott’s product.  As a matter of practice, NAD reviews the totality of an advertisement, including images, voiceovers,

music, fonts, images and other elements.

In this case, NAD determined “that not only is a superior taste claim is made, but so is a denigrating

one – there is no disguising the man’s obvious dislike of the competing juice and how much more he

likes the Mott’s Garden Blend juice.”

NAD determined that the challenged commercial conveyed the falsely disparaging message that V8

juice tastes bad and the unsupported message that Mott’s Garden Blend tastes better.  NAD

recommended that the advertisement be modified to remove the comparative elements in the

advertisement and cautioned the advertiser to avoid falsely disparaging comparisons to V8 in future

advertising.

NAD found that a reference to “garden fresh” was not problematic in the context of the challenged

commercial since it did not state that the product  contained fresh vegetables. However, NAD

recommended that Internet advertising for the product, made primarily from tomato paste and

water, be modified to avoid conveying the unsupported message that the product contains garden

fresh or fresh vegetables. NAD determined that a 15-second commercial did not convey any

superiority messages.

In its advertiser’s statement, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Inc., stated that it “respectfully disagrees

with the NAD’s view that the challenged advertisement was disparaging to V8.  We stand by our

research, which found that consumers do not view the ad to be comparative or disparaging.  As the

advertisement at issue stopped airing prior to the commencement of this challenge, we will take the

NAD’s decision into consideration for future advertising.”

 

 

NAD’s inquiry was conducted under NAD/CARU/NARB Procedures for the Voluntary Self-Regulation of National Advertising.  Details of the initial inquiry, NAD’s decision, and the advertiser’s response will be included in the next NAD/CARU Case Report.

About Advertising Industry Self-Regulation: The National Advertising Review Council (NARC) was formed in 1971. NARC establishes the policies and procedures for the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the CBBB’s Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) and the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP).

The NARC Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the American Advertising Federation, Inc. (AAF), American Association of Advertising Agencies, Inc., (AAAA),  the Association of National Advertisers, Inc. (ANA), Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc. (CBBB), Direct Marketing Association (DMA), Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) and Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).  Its purpose is to foster truth and accuracy in national advertising through voluntary self-regulation.

NAD, CARU and ERSP are the investigative arms of the advertising industry’s voluntary self-regulation  program. Their casework results from competitive challenges from other advertisers, and also from self-monitoring traditional and new media. NARB, the appeals body, is a peer group from which ad-hoc panels are selected to adjudicate NAD/CARU cases that are not resolved at the NAD/CARU level. This unique, self-regulatory system is funded entirely by the business community;

CARU is financed by the children’s advertising industry, while NAD/NARC/NARB’s primary source of funding is derived from membership fees paid to the CBBB. ERSP’s funding is derived from membership in the Electronic Retailing Association. For more information about advertising industry self-regulation, please visit www.narcpartners.org.