NAD Refers Claims for Reynolds’ ‘Hefty Slider Bags’ to FTC for Further Review

New York, NY – Dec. 3, 2015 – The National Advertising Division has referred advertising claims made by Reynolds Consumer Products for the company’s Hefty Slider Bags to the Federal Trade Commission for further review, following NAD’s fourth review of the advertiser’s claims.

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

In the underlying 2012 proceeding, S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. took issue with claims that the seal on Hefty Slider bags is “2x” stronger than the seal on SCJ’s Ziploc bags.

NAD determined that Reynolds’ substantiation was insufficient to support a “2X Stronger Seal” claim.

However, NAD found that Reynolds’ comparative product testing provided a reasonable basis for a superior performance claim – “stronger seal than Ziploc bags” – when the bags were shaken, dropped, or stacked.

NAD recommended Reynolds discontinue use of the “2x” qualifier and simply make a “stronger seal” claim.  NAD further recommended the advertiser qualify the “stronger seal” claim, either by making the language “stronger seal when shaken, dropped or stacked” part of the claim itself or through the use of a clear and conspicuous disclaimer placed in close proximity to the performance claim it modifies.

In its advertiser’s statement, Reynolds said that it would “accept the NAD’s suggestion to slightly modify Reynolds’ future advertising of its proven stronger seal than Ziploc and how it may benefit consumers.”

NAD opened compliance proceedings in November 2012 and Reynolds agreed to modify future printings of its packaging, as well as certain marketing materials and website claims, to ensure that the necessary disclosure was prominent and clearly tied to the “Stronger seal than Ziploc bags” claim to indicate to consumers that the seal was “stronger” when the bag was “shaken, stacked or dropped.”

NAD also opened compliance proceedings in May and September 2015, and twice recommended that Reynolds modify its advertising to more accurately reflect the results of its testing and avoid overstating the performance advantage of the seal on Hefty Slider Bags.

NAD’s most recent decision states: “As NAD has previously noted, where Reynolds uses visual imagery which could reasonably be understood as an illustration of its comparative superiority claim that ‘Hefty Slider Bags have a stronger seal than Ziploc when shaken, dropped or stacked,’ the visuals must correlate to the actual results of the testing which substantiates that claim.”

Given the advertiser’s failure to comply with NAD’s recommendations, despite three previous compliance proceedings, NAD has referred the advertising to the FTC for further review.

Note: A recommendation by NAD to modify or discontinue a claim is not a finding of wrongdoing and an advertiser’s voluntary discontinuance or modification of claims should not be construed as an admission of impropriety. It is the policy of NAD not to endorse any company, product, or service. Decisions finding that advertising claims have been substantiated should not be construed as endorsements.