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NAD reviews energy drink claims

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

Review of comparison claims involving Living Essentials' 5-Hour Energy dietary supplement shows that "apples-to-oranges" comparisons are supported as long as advertising clearly discloses the point of comparison and "all material differences between the products," the National Advertising Division says. Brought to the Council of Better Business Bureaus unit's attention Aug. 6 by competitor Hansen Beverage Co., the case involved Living Essentials' TV, print and Internet ads that compare the amount of sugar in its one serving-size shot of product to two competitors' energy drinks, including Corona, Calif.-based Hansen's Monster Energy drink, which is a two-serving size, 16-oz. can. The ad claimed that 5-Hour Energy had zero sugar and 4 calories while Monster had 12 teaspoons of sugar and 200 calories. NAD concluded that the comparison for the purposes of showing the relative amounts of sugar in the products "was consumer-relevant as evidence indicated that both products were likely to be consumed as a single serving." However, NAD suggested the advertiser point out that its product comparison is against competitors' two-serving, 16 oz. cans. According to the inquiry report, Farmington Hills, Mich.-based Living Essentials supports NAD's decision and will follow the recommendations

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