Tag: Advertising Claim Substantiation

1
What The Fudge?! Popular Breakfast Snack’s Lack of Key Ingredient Did Not Trigger Liability Under State Consumer Fraud and Magnuson-Moss Warranty Acts
2
Don’t Lead Me On: FTC Issues Complaint Against HomeAdvisor
3
Court Dismisses False Advertising Suit Over Chocolate-Dipped Ice Cream Bars
4
NAD Initiating Review of Brand Claims of Social Justice Initiative Support
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Doctors Need Substantiation, Too: NAD Emphasizes that Advertising Claims Directed to Sophisticated Audiences are Subject to the Same Accuracy and Truthfulness Standards as Lay Consumers

What The Fudge?! Popular Breakfast Snack’s Lack of Key Ingredient Did Not Trigger Liability Under State Consumer Fraud and Magnuson-Moss Warranty Acts

By: Ketajh M. Brown

A recent ruling from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois served as an important reminder to the Plaintiffs Bar regarding a significant and continuing shift in judicial attitude toward speculative class action allegations of consumer fraud and breach of warranty.  In this case, the Court’s order is a cautionary tale for those who make a living firing off indiscriminate legal claims without stopping to ensure all essential elements of their clients’ claims are sufficiently alleged.  

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Don’t Lead Me On: FTC Issues Complaint Against HomeAdvisor

By: Ewa A. Wojciechowska

In order for the FTC to issue an administrative complaint: (1) the FTC must have “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated; and (2) it must appear to the FTC that instituting a proceeding is in the public interest.

On March 11, 2022, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued a Complaint against HomeAdvisor, Inc., also doing business as Angi Leads, also doing business as HomeAdvisor Powered by Angi (collectively, “HomeAdvisor”) (In the Matter of HomeAdvisor, Inc., a corporation, d/b/a Angi Leads, d/b/a HomeAdvisor Powered by Angi, FTC Docket No. 9407). The Complaint alleges that HomeAdvisor used deceptive business practices in relation to its members, many of whom are small business, by misleading them about the quality and source of, as well as general information about, the leads HomeAdvisor provided.

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Court Dismisses False Advertising Suit Over Chocolate-Dipped Ice Cream Bars

By: Amy Wong

Summary: Plaintiff filed a putative class action complaint in New York federal court against Mars Wrigley Confectionery US, LLC, alleging it deceived consumers into believing that its chocolate-coated ice cream bars contained only milk chocolate when they actually contain vegetable oils, which Plaintiff contends are not found in real chocolate. Plaintiff’s primary cause of action arises under New York’s false advertising and deceptive practices statutes, General Business Law §§ 349 and 350. Beers v. Mars Wrigley Confectionery US, LLC,  No. 21-CV-2 (CS), 2022 WL 493555, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 17, 2022).

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NAD Initiating Review of Brand Claims of Social Justice Initiative Support

By: Meg Tierney

Summary: In February 2022, the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Better Business Bureau published two decisions related to truth in advertising when making claims about a company’s social justice initiatives. As part of its ongoing monitoring program, the NAD initiated challenges of advertising claims made by Niantic, Inc. (Niantic)[1] and DoorDash, Inc. (DoorDash)[2] regarding allied monetary donations to a variety of social justice initiatives and organizations.

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Doctors Need Substantiation, Too: NAD Emphasizes that Advertising Claims Directed to Sophisticated Audiences are Subject to the Same Accuracy and Truthfulness Standards as Lay Consumers

By: Meg Tierney and Katie Staba

Summary: The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Better Business Bureau recently published a decision reminding advertisers that claims directed to sophisticated audiences are still subject to the same rules and guidelines as those claims directed to the general public and lay audiences.  In Bausch Health US, LLC (INFUSE Contact Lenses) the NAD reviewed a number of claims in a Bausch & Lomb (B & L) brochure distributed to eye care professionals (ECPs) for single-use contact lenses. 

Among the claims challenged by Alcon and reviewed by NAD were a number of claims related to the scientific properties and measurements of the lenses, incorporated into a bar graph that demonstrated the different measurements among B & L lenses and those of its competitors (specifically, comparable lenses produced by competitors Alcon and Johnson & Johnson).  Under the chart, the brochure displayed various statements that the B & L lenses provide superior comfort, wearability, or eye health benefits.  For example, a claim about B & L lenses having the “lowest modulus” (a measurement of the lens) was immediately accompanied by the statement “that ‘low modulus’ . . . provides a comfortable lens wearing experience.”

The NAD turned to a prior case involving B & L contact lenses where the NAD found that “lens property claims paired with a superiority claim . . . conveyed a comparative message requiring a showing that the demonstrated differences will be clinically significant (i.e., consumer relevant.)” In the present case, NAD found that the lens property claims were “clearly intertwined” with clinical benefits of such properties and thus required separate studies to support such claims—which B & L was unable to provide.

The NAD specifically noted that “while a sophisticated audience may understand nuanced and technical language, as well as industry-related data used in a claim . . ., all messages reasonably conveyed should be truthful and accurate.”

Key Takeaways: The key takeaway in this case is a simple one: that all claims by an advertiser, regardless of audience sophistication, should be supported by reliable evidence. The K&L Gates consumer protection and advertising group can help review your final advertising campaign for claim substantiation concerns and a wide variety of other advertising issues.

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