BATTLE CONTINUES OVER PET FOOD ADS

Ad Group Rules in Favor of Colgate Vitamin Claims

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CINCINNATI (AdAge.com) -- Procter & Gamble Co. and Colgate-Palmolive Co. continue fighting like cats and dogs over pet food ad claims, with Colgate getting a split decision in the latest round.

In its second ruling in as many days and third in the past two months over ad dispute claims between Colgate-Palmolive's Hill's Science Diet and P&G's Iams pet foods, the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus on Friday found Hill's established a reasonable basis for some ad claims but should modify some print and packaging claims for Science Diet pet food.

Vitamin claims approved
NAD said Hill's had

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supported its claims that Science Diet has higher levels of vitamins C and E, promotes healthy immune systems and provides superior nutrition for lifelong health of pets. But NAD recommended packaging be modified to clearly disclose the source of vitamin C used and that the claim that Science Diet's unique antioxidant system protects every cell in a pet's body was not adequately supported.

NAD also said evidence in the case record did not support the claim that Science Diet is the only pet food clinically proven to reduce stain, plaque and tartar buildup and that the claim should be discontinued.

In a statement to NAD, Hill's said it "respectfully disagrees with some of the NAD's conclusions" and is pleased the vitamin, immune system and nutrition claims were substantiated. Hill's had previously said its oral health claims are fully substantiated and it plans to continue using them in advertising. Hill's said it would take other recommendations into account in future advertising and packaging.

The issues were brought to NAD's attention by P&G's Iams unit.

Brain aging
Last week, NAD recommended Hill's modify claims its dog food fights brain aging, can extend and improve dogs' quality of life, make dogs act younger and live twice as long. NAD also concluded the evidence provided by Hill's was insufficient to support the unqualified claims and recommended that future advertising disclose the longevity claim is limited to dogs experiencing kidney failure. NAD also recommended that longevity bar graphs used to depict extended life expectancy clearly disclose the units of time measure.

In June, NAD ruled P&G's Eukanuba brand substantiated TV ad claims that its Dental Defense System reduces tartar buildup on dogs' teeth but should clarify print ads for the product, based on a complaint from Colgate. The NAD determined P&G established a reasonable basis for TV ad claims that Eukanuba Dental Defense System reduces tartar buildup in dogs' teeth by up to 55% but should modify print ads to avoid conveying the message that all Eukanuba products have that effect.

Bcom3 Group's Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, handles Iams and Eukanuba, while WPP Group's Y&R Advertising, New York, handles Science Diet.

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