NAD Case: Avoid Claim Confusion When Advertising Multiple Products

April 28, 2011

By Cassandra A. Soltis

A recent case issued by the National Advertising Division (“NAD”) of the Better Business Bureau serves as a reminder to advertisers to clearly demarcate claims when multiple products are advertised in the same medium. 

In Case #5317, the NAD examined the advertisements disseminated by DSE Healthcare Solutions, LLC (“DSE”), which markets the two products at issue – Cystex® Urinary Pain Relief Tablets, an OTC drug that helps manage the pain of urinary tract infections (“UTIs”), and Cystex® Liquid Cranberry Complex with Proantinox®, a dietary supplement that promotes urinary health.  The NAD was concerned, in part, that consumers would infer the claims intended for the OTC drug product as also applying to the dietary supplement product.

As an example of this confusion, the NAD cited to the Cystex website, which depicted both the Cystex OTC drug and Cystex dietary supplement products with the headline “Prevent and Manage Symptoms of UTIs.”  The NAD explained that this advertising design did not make it clear which product was to be associated with this claim.  Furthermore, other parts of the website included text discussing the products interchangeably, and the NAD was “troubled by this mixed discussion of the advertiser’s two separate, differently classified, products.”  Case #5317, at 10.  Because “a visitor to the Cystex website could reasonably associate all of the claims with each of the Cystex products,” the NAD requested DSE to modify its website as necessary to avoid confusion, which the company agreed to do.  Id. 

Does your website or other advertisement discuss multiple products interchangeably?  If so, be sure that promotional claims are associated only with those products for which the claims are intended.