Procter & Gamble, S.C. Johnson Participate In NAD Forum

New York, NY – Feb. 10 , 2009 – The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that Procter & Gamble modify or discontinue certain advertising claims for “Swiffer Dust and Shine Furniture Spray.”

NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, examined broadcast and Internet advertising for the product, following a challenge by S.C. Johnson & Son, the maker of competing Pledge products.

Broadcast advertising claims at issue included:

  • On “your wood surfaces,” Swiffer Dust & Shine “leaves less greasy residue than the leading furniture polish.”

Internet advertising claims at issue included:

  • “Overall, [New Swiffer Dust & Shine] gives you a better clean for your wood surfaces with less greasy residue than the leading furniture polish.”

Following its review of the evidence, NAD determined that the claim that Swiffer DS “leaves less greasy residue than the leading furniture polish,” conveys the message that consumers, on their own, can see or feel the difference between the products. 

NAD found that, although the advertiser demonstrated that Swiffer DS technically leaves less of something behind than the leading furniture polish, the advertiser has not shown that the difference between the amount of residue is noticeable to the consumer, or that what Pledge leaves behind is perceived by consumers as a negative, “greasy residue.” 

NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue its use of the phrase “greasy residue” to describe what is left behind by Pledge on wood surfaces and modify the comparative claim to better reflect the evidence in the record.

With respect to a side-by-side product demonstration featured in broadcast advertising, NAD determined that the lighting on the two contrasting surfaces is distinctly different and the path of a finger swipe across each surface is different, as well, factors that could render the results inaccurate.  NAD recommended that the advertiser either modify the demonstration so that both sides receive equal lighting and follow an identical path for the finger swipe or discontinue its use of the demonstration.

NAD noted that the Internet advertising claim that the Swiffer product “gives you a better clean for your wood surfaces … than the leading furniture polish” was deleted from its Website prior to the commencement of this inquiry.

In addition, NAD was satisfied with the advertiser’s assurance that it has no plans to make such a “better clean” claim against Pledge in any future advertising. NAD, in reliance on that representation, did not review the claim on its merits.

P&G, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company “is disappointed” that NAD did not accept the evidence offered as support and remains confident that “our analytical and technical test data, together with our large scale national consumer in-home use test results, clearly provide a ‘reasonable basis’ for the claim.”

Nevertheless, the company said, it “agrees to comply with NAD’s recommendation to modify the comparative claim to better reflect the evidence in the record, and to modify the side-by-side demonstration.”