NEW YORK, March 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Advertising Division ("NAD") recommended that BA Sports Nutrition, LLC ("BA") discontinue the following claims for its Body Armor and Body Armor Lyte sports drinks: "The More Natural Sports Drink," "More Natural Ingredients than Gatorade Thirst Quencher & Gatorade Zero," "The More Natural Low-Calorie Sports Drink," and "More Natural Ingredients than Gatorade Thirst Quencher & Gatorade Zero." The claims were challenged by Stokely-Van Camp, Inc. ("SVC"), maker of competing Gatorade sports drinks.
NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry's system of self-regulation and is a division of the BBB National Programs' self-regulatory and dispute resolution programs.
The challenged claims, which appeared in point-of-sale and online advertising, included:
Body Armor is "the more natural sports drink."
Body Armor has "More Natural Ingredients than Gatorade Thirst Quencher & Gatorade Zero."
Body Armor Lyte is "the more natural low-calorie sports drink."
Body Armor Lyte has "More Natural Ingredients than Gatorade Thirst Quencher & Gatorade Zero."
Body Armor & Body Armor Lyte are more natural than other sports drinks.
Body Armor & Body Armor Lyte are more natural than Gatorade and Gatorade Zero.
Body Armor & Body Armor Lyte have fewer artificial ingredients than Gatorade.
Body Armor & Body Armor Lyte have fewer artificial ingredients than Gatorade Thirst Quencher and Gatorade Zero.
NAD considered the message reasonably conveyed by the advertising claims at issue, and concluded that, whether read in tandem or read separately, the claims "The More Natural Sports Drink" and "More Natural Ingredients than Gatorade Thirst Quencher & Gatorade Zero" do not provide a clear basis for the comparison being made. Without meaningful qualification, NAD determined that a reasonable consumer could take away the message that Body Armor and Body Armor Lyte products contain more natural ingredients than Gatorade products by numerical count, by volume, or by both. Moreover, the claims imply that the difference in ingredients is meaningful rather than trivial.
NAD further determined that the claims "The More Natural Sports Drink" and "The More Natural Low-Calorie Sports Drink," which are accompanied by the claim "More Natural Ingredients than Gatorade Thirst Quencher & Gatorade Zero," are line claims which reasonably communicate that the product benefits promised are true for all of the products in a line. NAD noted that in order to substantiate a line claim, an advertiser must produce evidence demonstrating that all of the products in the line will perform as promised. Therefore, NAD assessed whether BA's evidence showed that all Body Armor and Body Armor Lyte products have "More Natural Ingredients" than all Gatorade Thirst Quencher & Gatorade Zero products.
First, NAD determined that because the claim expressly speaks to the general composition of four product lines, the advertiser's evidence pertaining to the presence or absence of certain limited ingredients (i.e., naturally sourced colors, sweeteners, and flavors) is insufficient to support such a broad claim. Next, NAD considered evidence provided by the advertiser regarding the number of natural ingredients in each product in the form of charts containing ten head-to-head comparisons between Body Armor and Gatorade products. NAD noted that this data was incomplete as it only included information about ingredients in five flavors of each product line, and that several of Gatorade's products (admittedly in non-matching flavors) have the same number of natural ingredients as some Body Armor products, making the claim inaccurate as to those different-flavor comparisons. Finally, NAD turned to the advertiser's evidence consisting of information on its formula and the relative percentage by volume of certain categories of ingredients represented in its products. However, because the advertiser did not provide any objective evidence supporting the volume of natural ingredients in the challenger's products, NAD determined that Body Armor lacked support for its comparative claims.
For these reasons, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the claims "The More Natural Sports Drink," "More Natural Ingredients than Gatorade Thirst Quencher & Gatorade Zero," "The More Natural Low-Calorie Sports Drink," and "More Natural Ingredients than Gatorade Thirst Quencher & Gatorade Zero." NAD noted that this decision does not prevent Body Armor from making claims that it uses natural sweeteners, natural flavors, and colors from natural sources in its products.
In its advertiser's statement, although BA took issue with some of NAD's findings, it agreed to comply with NAD's recommendations. BA stated that it "will take NAD's recommendations into account in its future advertising, which will continue to focus on the real, consumer-relevant differences between Body Armor and Gatorade products."
About the National Advertising Division: National Advertising Division (NAD), a division of BBB National Programs, provides independent self-regulation overseeing the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for truth and accuracy.
About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs fosters trust, innovation, and competition in the marketplace through the development and delivery of cost-effective, third-party self-regulation, dispute resolution and other programs. BBB National Programs is the home of industry self-regulatory and dispute resolution programs that include the National Advertising Division (NAD), National Advertising Review Board (NARB), BBB EU Privacy Shield, BBB AUTO LINE, Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU), Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), Children's Confection Advertising Initiative (CCAI), Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC), Digital Advertising Accountability Program (Accountability Program), and the Coalition for Better Advertising Dispute Resolution Program (CBA DRM). The programs are designed to resolve business issues and advance shared objectives by responding to marketplace concerns to create a better customer experience. To learn more about industry self-regulation, please visit: BBBNP.org.
SOURCE BBB National Programs; National Advertising Division