New York, NY – The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products modify performance claims for its REACH Total Care + Whitening Toothbrush to clarify that the brush whitens teeth through the abrasive action, rather than through bleaching.NAD determined that the advertiser could support the claim that “[o]rdinary toothbrushes clean teeth. REACH whitens them.”
As part of NAD’s routine monitoring program, NAD – the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum – requested substantiation for express claims that included:
- “Ordinary toothbrushes clean teeth. REACH whitens them.”
- “At the core of this revolutionary toothbrush REACH has engineered a unique row of bristles infused with Calcium Carbonate MICROWHITENING technology. That means each time you brush, you’re whitening teeth and removing stains.*” (*in lab tests)
NAD also examined the implied claim that the REACH Total Care + Whitening Toothbrush has been proven to actually whiten teeth when used in the same manner as an ordinary toothbrush.
According to the advertiser, the toothbrush, launched in 2010, was designed with bristles embedded with calcium carbonate, recognized by the Food and Drug Administration as an abrasive used in fluoride toothpastes.
In support of its claims, the advertiser provided NAD with evidence that demonstrated that calcium carbonate infused bristles do, in fact, provide statistically significantly better stain removal than brushes with ordinary bristles. Further, the advertiser provided testing to demonstrate that its advertised toothbrush provided significantly better plaque removal than the other two ordinary toothbrushes tested. Further, the advertiser’s evidence demonstrated that the difference in whitening and stain removal was meaningful to consumers.
Following its review of evidence, NAD determined that the advertiser could support the claim that “[o]rdinary toothbrushes clean teeth. REACH whitens them.”
However, NAD recommended that the advertiser modify the claims “whitens and removes stains” and “each time you brush you’re whitening and removing stains” to assure that consumers are aware that stain removal is accomplished extrinsically, through the stain-removing abrasive action of the bristles, not intrinsically through bleaching.
The company, in its advertiser’s statement, said it is disappointed with NAD recommendation, “given the industry practice of making unqualified whitening claims based on data showing extrinsic whitening only. Nevertheless, we understand NAD's recommendations and will take them into consideration in future advertising.”
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