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S. C. JOHNSON's FIBERALL SUGAR FREE, MD-PREFERRED CLAIMS

Executive Summary

S. C. JOHNSON's FIBERALL SUGAR FREE, MD-PREFERRED CLAIMS v. METAMUCIL have been adequately substantiated, the Better Business Bureaus Natl. Advertising Div. (NAD) concluded recently. Metamucil-mfr. Searle had challenged S. C. Johnmson/Rydelle Labs' advertising which showed the line's regular brand as "being 50% laxative fiber and 50% sugar by weight while Fiberall contained the same laxative fiber with added bran fiber." Ad claims in the campaign had declared: "Fiberall has the sugar-free formula preferred by three out of four doctors surveyed" and "instead of sugar, Fiberall gives you the extra benefit of another high fiber ingredient -- bran." In challenging the ads, Searle submitted a survey which it maintained "showed viewers would conclude that Fiberall contained more active ingredient than Metamucil and that Metamucil contained 50% sugar by volume," NAD said. Searle also noted that it makes Regular Metamucil in three forms, including a sugar-free version. To support the ad claim, S. C. Johnson told the council that Regular Flavor Metamucil is "49% psyllim fiber by weight and occupies 64% of a 14 oz. container" with the added sugar occupying 36% of the volume. S. C. Johnson said Fiberall "contains the same amount of psyllim, comprising 68% by weight or volume of a 10 oz. container" with added bran occupyin 32% of the container. "The advertiser maintained that its depiction of the two products with equal amounts of laxative by weight and its reference to the added natural or brain fiber in Fiberall could not be understood as claims for more of the active ingredient," NAD said. The bureau also said S. C. Johnson submitted results of two telephone surveys "demonstrating that doctors overwhelmingly favored a sugar free formula." "In its review, NAD found it "appropriate" for S. C. Johnson "to match its regular product against Regular Flavor Metamucil" since the product "outsells the remaining items in the Metamucil line." The report also noted that NAD had "questioned the implications of the sugar-free claim since Fiberall contained 2% sugar as a natural ingredient of the bran fiber and provides about 6 calories per dose compared with 14 calories for Metamucil." However, NAD said S. C. Johnson "maintained that its claim was not a claim for calorie savings but was directed to persons who are concerned about added sugar in processed foods and medications."
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