Nestlé Purina Petcare, P&G Participate In NAD Forum

New York, NY – July 24, 2007 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that Nestlé Purina PetCare modify certain claims for its for its Purina Dog Chow  products.

Performance claims made in print and television advertisements, as well as promotional materials by Nestlé Purina PetCare for both Purina Dog Chow and Purina Pro Plan puppy and dog food products, were challenged by Procter & Gamble Co., manufacturer of competing Iams and Eukanuba dog food products

Claims challenged before NAD,  the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, included:

Purina Dog Chow:

 

  • “A groundbreaking 14-year study by Purina proves that dogs can live longer, healthier lives…Dog Chow nutrition, fed properly over a lifetime, can help add up to two healthy years to your dog’s life.”

Pro Plan:

 

  • “What if your customers could EXTEND their dog’s HEALTHY YEARS BY 15%?  Call 800-688-PETS today and learn about Purina Life Plan plus unique Pro Planproduct benefits.” 
  • “What if you could help Extend your dog’s HEALTHY YEARS BY 15%?”

At the outset, the advertiser informed NAD that claims related to the print advertising campaign for Pro-Plan products had been discontinued in the United States well before the advertising was challenged. Although similar claims appear in Internet advertising directed to customers in Japan and Europe, NAD has jurisdiction over advertising that national in scope. As result, NAD’s decision focuses on the challenged claims for Purina Dog Chow products. 

NAD examined evidence that include the results of the 14-year study referenced in the challenged advertising, a study conducted by Purina that examined proper feeding and its relationship to the longevity and health of dogs. The study tested the effects of a restricted diets and the maintenance of ideal body conditions on the lifespan and age-related health changes of dogs.

In the first commercial examined by NAD, a man is running on a beach with this dog as the voice-over states, “[a] groundbreaking 14-year study by Purina proves that dogs can live longer, healthier lives…Dog Chow nutrition, fed properly over a lifetime, can help add up to two healthy years to your dog’s life.”  At this same time, a super appears onscreen reading, “Follow feeding instructions on bag.”  Simultaneously the words, “Up to 2 Healthy Years” appears and then becomes  “+2” symbol in a circle in the center of the screen.  The voice-over continues, “Long live your running partner, Long live your dog” as a super for the advertiser’s web site appears: “LongLiveYourDog.com”

The second commercial features a child and puppy playing together. The voice-over states, “… now, you have the power to add up to 2 healthy years to his life.”  Again, the super reading, “Up to 2 Healthy Years” becomes a “+2” symbol as the voice-over states, “[a] groundbreaking 14-year study by Purina proves that Puppy Chow, then Dog Chow nutrition fed properly over a lifetime, help add up to two quality years with your dog (again, along with the an accompanying super reading, “Follow feeding instructions on bag.”  The voice-over continues, “Long live your buddy, Long live your dog” as the super, “LongLiveYourDog.com” appears.

NAD determined that the claim “add up to two healthy years to your dog’s life,”  accompanied by the repeated “+2” symbol in the center of the screen, and other phrases could reasonably be interpreted by consumers to mean that the Purina Study showed that by following feeding directions on the Purina packaging, consumers can simply “add” up to two years to their dog’s life – a maximum life span benefit claim – and that consumers would not  discern that (under the parameters of the study) if a dog can be expected to have a certain number of healthy years over the course of its natural lifetime, it is those years that might be extended.  In short, the study’s two-prong findings concerned the results of feeding a nutrient dense food on a diet restricted basis and how these combined efforts result in extending a dog’s median lifespan 1.8 years and delaying the onset of certain diseases and/or ailments. 

NAD recommended that the challenged commercials be modified to more accurately convey the results of the Purina Study and the message that Puppy/Dog Chow nutrition, when fed to a dog’s ideal body condition (following the feeding directions on the product packaging), over his lifetime, can significantly extend a dog’s healthy years (i.e., achieve an average or median life span increase of up to 1.8 years).

Nestlé Purina, in its advertiser’s statement, said it “reaffirms its support for the self-regulatory process and will take into consideration the decision in the development of future advertising.”