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Industry Watchdog Asks Neutrogena to Tweak Ads

Neutrogena received several recommendations for its ad claims from the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

Johnson & Johnson’s Neutrogena brand has received several recommendations for its ad claims from the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus based on a challenge filed by Unilever earlier this year.

The challenge, brought by the maker of Dove skin care, specifically pointed to Neutrogena’s use of three claims in its ads, including the “#1 Dermatologist Recommended” claim. NAD, which consists of eight lawyers, many of whom specialize in advertising law, has recommended that going forward, Neutrogena make clear that the “#1 Dermatologist Recommended” claim applies to the Neutrogena brand as a whole, and not when a particular Neutrogena product is not the most recommended brand in a category.

According to a release issued by NAD, Neutrogena took issue with the finding; however, Neutrogena is “committed to the self-regulatory process and accordingly accepts NAD’s recommendation to clarify this claim when used in segments where Neutrogena is not the most recommended brand.”

When contacted, Johnson & Johnson said it does not comment on litigation.

Unilever, the release said, also took issue with Neutrogena’s ad claim: “No wonder dermatologists recommend Neutrogena most.” NAD noted in its decision that the phrase “no wonder” isn’t an objective claim. Neutrogena, in turn, voluntarily suggested adding the word “brand” to this claim, to the agreement of NAD, according to the release.

Also, the term “One more reason why Neutrogena is recommended most by dermatologists” has been determined by NAD to not be supported by evidence and that Neutrogena discontinue this claim. Neutrogena said it will take into account NAD’s recommendation regarding the phrase “one more reason why” in connection with its future advertising, the release said.

NAD regularly accepts challenges from consumers and competitors, said a NAD spokesman, who added that most recommendations are followed through, but the Federal Trade Commission is contacted when they are not.