NAD Rules Online Reviews Not Sufficient To Substantiate Advertising Claim

The National Advertising Division (“NAD”) recently decided that an advertiser’s use of aggregated online consumer reviews was not sufficiently reliable and representative to support a claim that its product “America’s Most Recommended.”

More specifically, the NAD reviewed an advertising claim made by Euro-Pro for its Shark-branded vacuum cleaners in various media, including television commercials, infomercials, online advertising and on product packaging.  The claim was brought to NAD’s attention by  Euro-Pro’s competitor, Dyson, Inc.

The NAD first considered whether Euro-Pro’s claim was a comparative one  Euro-Pro’s position was that it was not.  For the most part, the NAD agreed, finding that the language convey that the language conveyed more of a recommendation than a preference.

However, the NAD determined that the unverified compilation and analysis of consumer review data from online websites was unreliable and insufficient to substantiate the claim.  The NAD cautioned that advertisers must still adhere to the NAD’s “standards of truthfulness, reliability, and representativeness” when using new technology and information to support advertising claims.

The NAD was also concerned with the absence of demographic information in the reviews and that Euro-Pro’s data was not representative of online purchasers or online reviewers in general.

The decision is being appealed by Euro-Pro to the National Advertising Review Board (“NARB”).

The NAD’s press release can be found here.

By Richard B. Newman, Hinch Newman LLP

Posted under Internet Marketing Compliance Law

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