RB Agrees to Stop Using Reference to Consumer Reports Ratings

Move Follows NAD Inquiry on Finish; Henkel's Persil Used Similar Tactic in Super Bowl Ad

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RB will stop referring to its "Best Buy" rating from a "leading consumer publication" for Finish Powerball dish detergent, which apparently ran afoul of Consumer Reports' guidelines for use of its editorial content.

Credit: Target.com

The move comes in response to an inquiry from the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. And while it applies to the brand from RB (also known as Reckitt Benckiser), it could also extend to other brands using the tactic, including Henkel, which appeared to make a similar veiled reference to a win in Consumer Reports in its Super Bowl ad for Persil in February.

In a statement reported by the NAD, RB said it will permanently discontinue the advertising claim "Rated Best Buy 3 Years in a row" (based on ratings from a "leading Consumer Magazine in 2011, 2012 and 2013)." RB also said it won't introduce any new materials bearing the claim once a small amount of remaining inventory has been sold through club stores within the next month or two, including if the product is again named a "Best Buy" by Consumer Reports.

The magazine has a policy against advertisers using any of its ratings in advertising, with a statement that "consumers should enjoy the full context of our information and not hear about our ratings and reports through the language of salesmanship."

The NAD didn't review the RB claims on its merits, the group said in its statement, since RB voluntarily discontinued the claim, but will consider the claims as if it had recommended their discontinuation, the group said.

A spokeswoman for the NAD declined to comment on whether the matter will have a bearing on Henkel or Persil advertising, or whether it too is under review. A Henkel spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to an email request for comment.

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