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National Advertising Division In Brief

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

P&G spurs review of ACT mouthwash claims: The National Advertising Division advises Sanofi-Aventis' Chattem business to modify and discontinue certain claims about ACT Total Care rinse. The Council of Better Business Bureaus division, acting on a complaint filed by Procter & Gamble, examined claims that ACT is "the mouthwash that does it all," "fights unsightly plaque (as part of a dentist-approved oral health program)," provides "total care," "strong teeth + healthy mouth + fresh breath" and "kills bad breath germs." At the start of the inquiry, Chattem said it would discontinue use of the "fights unsightly plaque," "does it all" and "total care" claims. NAD determined that Chattem's lab testing alone was insufficient to support the claim that the product kills bad breath, or similar claims, including "kills germs to freshen breath" because it does not reflect germ kill when the product is used by a person as intended. The CBBB unit also questioned whether the phrase "healthy mouth" conveyed a greater health benefit than supported by the evidence, and recommended modifying the claim to state "strong teeth + fresh breath = healthy mouth" or a similar iteration. P&G, which markets the Scope and Crest mouthwash and tooth whitener lines, also argued that "Total Care" in the Chattem product name constituted an unsupported claim. But NAD disagreed, saying "there is no evidence in the record indicating consumer confusion as to the name." NAD added that it is generally "reluctant" to recommend product name changes and "does not make this recommendation lightly and only does so after due consideration of the issues." Chattem said it accepted the board's findings, although it disagreed that its study alone was insufficient to support the claim that the product kills bad breath germs
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