A recent NAD decision appears to reexamine existing NAD case law about when the superlative “best,” as used in an ad, requires substantiation. A “best” claim is not always puffery, which means that it may require substantiation. The change is just another reminder that when companies make comparative claims, those claims must be substantiated.
Xfinity and NyQuil “Best” Claims
Where a “best” claim is linked to a product with a specific attribute, advertisers and marketers should be very careful not to draw measurable comparisons with competitor products. Recently, the NAD offered more instruction on “best” claims in two different challenges. The first involved a claim made by Nyquil, the nighttime cold relief medicine, to promote a specific attribute of its product as better than competitors. The NAD’s Nyquil decision instructed that “although claims of general superiority may constitute puffery, NAD has consistently concluded that linking a general claim to a specific product attribute may result in the need for substantiation.”
By contrast, Xfinity, a subsidiary of cable company Comcast, invited consumers to “choose from the best devices on the best network.” The NAD found that the Xfinity claims could not be measured, which made the claims puffery. So what does this mean for marketers looking to make their products look “the best”?
“The Best” Claim Substantiation Advice
Considering making a “best” claim? The recent NAD decisions were mixed, but sent one clear message: When in doubt, substantiate claims that your product or some aspect of it is the best. Consumer surveys for advertising claim substantiation don’t just give you the substantiation you need to publish your ads; they also protect your brand or product against a legal challenge, and may even provide valuable insights that can improve audience targeting. As we continue to receive clarification from regulatory bodies on what constitutes puffery, we also continue to get information on the importance of properly substantiating claims.
Are you planning on marketing with a “best” tagline? Consider substantiating your claim first with help from MMR Strategy Group.