NAD Reviews Advertising for ‘Danish’ Butter Cookie Made in Indonesia; Recommends Distributor Discontinue Claims

New York, NY – April 9,  2015 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Takari International, Inc., distributor of Danisa “Traditional Butter Cookies,” discontinue certain advertising claims for the product.

The claims at issue were challenged by Campbell Soup Company, on behalf of its subsidiary Kelsen, Inc., a maker of premium Danish butter cookies.

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

Campbell challenged express claims that include:

  • “Traditional Butter Cookies”
  • “Original Danish Recipe”
  • “Baked following the original recipe from Denmark”
  • “Produced and packed in Denmark”
  • “Danish Specialty Foods, Copenhagen Denmark” (in conjunction with other labeling visuals and elements that invoke Denmark, e.g., Danish royal crown, Scandinavian country scenes)

Danisa Traditional Butter Cookies are made by the Mayora Group in Indonesia and sold in packages that display Scandinavian imagery.  Mayora markets its products in approximately fifty countries including the U.S., where they are distributed by Takari and available at the Takari website.

The challenger noted that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that any product labeled “Butter Cookies” use only butter as its shortening ingredient. The challenger asserted that testing by an agency of the Danish government, Campbell’s own laboratory and a third-party lab showed that a non-butter fat ingredient or, possibly, multiple non-butter fat ingredients, are present in the Danisa products.

In response to NAD’s inquiry, Takari noted that it distributes the Danisa product and does not have access to information about the ingredients used to produce the product or control over manufacturing and/or packaging claims and, as such, is not responsible for the challenged advertising.

Takari contended that it is an innocent party and purchased the product without any knowledge regarding possible problems with content or package design and  cannot be bound by the NAD’s inquiry and findings. Further, Takari asserted that any website or advertising challenged in the complaint constitute commercial speech protected under the First Amendment.

NAD, however, has previously held that catalog retailers must have a reasonable basis for the advertising claims made for products sold through their catalogs. The same holds true for distributors, NAD noted in its decision.

Following its review of the evidence in the record, NAD recommended that Takari discontinue the challenged claims and the use of Scandinavian imagery.

Takari, in its advertiser’s statement, noted its objections, but said it would remove Danisa’s advertisement from its website. Takari also said it would not to promote or advertise the product at any tradeshows or expos or through in-store displays that it controls. Finally, the company said, it would not in the future purchase the product with the current packaging and description.