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NAD Recommends Colgate Discontinue Certain Claims for Optic White Toothpaste

Posted on August 22, 2012

New York, NY – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Colgate-Palmolive Company discontinue certain claims for its Optic White Toothpaste, including the claim, “Same Whitening Ingredient as Strips.”

However, NAD did determine that Colgate provided adequate support for a more narrow claim that its product contains 1% hydrogen peroxide. The claims at issue were challenged before NAD by The Procter & Gamble Company, maker of Crest 3D Whitestrips.

NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s self-regulatory system and administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

The express claim at issue – “Same Ingredient as Strips”— appeared in print and Internet advertising, a television commercial, and on product packaging and in-store displays. NAD also examined whether the advertising conveyed the implied messages that the

Peroxide, the whitening agent in Colgate Optic White, provides a significant whitening benefit that is comparable to Crest Whitestrips, that the peroxide in Optic White provides a whitening benefit that is meaningful to consumers, that the product whitens intrinsic stains, provides comparable whitening efficacy to strips, provides superior whitening to other toothpastes and contains at least 1% hydrogen peroxide through the shelf life of the product.

Following its review of the evidence in the record, which included the results of consumer-perception testing offered by P&G, NAD concluded that the advertiser’s evidence was insufficiently reliable to support the claim, “Same Whitening Ingredient as Strips,” or the messages implied by the claim – including the messages that the hydrogen peroxide as contained in Optic White functions as a significant whitening agent on both intrinsic and extrinsic stains or that Optic White provides the same level of whitening improvement as Whitestrips – and recommended that these claims be discontinued. 

NAD found that the advertiser could support a more narrowly phrased claim that Optic White “removes stains that non-whitening fluoride toothpastes do not.”

Further, NAD found that the advertiser provided adequate support basis for the claim that Optic White contains 1% hydrogen peroxide in a stable form and for a stand-alone claim that Optic White provides whiter teeth in one week or whiter teeth in one week as compared to a regular, non-whitening fluoride toothpaste.  

Colgate, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company disagreed with certain of NAD’s findings, including NAD’s concerns regarding the “literally truthful claim ‘Same Whitening Ingredient As Strips,’ since Colgate believes that this exact and similar ingredient claims have been prevalent in the whitening category for many years.”

Colgate noted that it supports the “self-regulatory process, and will take NAD’s decision into account in its future marketing plans for Optic White.”