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NAD REVIEWS ADVERTISING CLAIMS
FOR CHATTEM’S ‘ALLEGRA’ FOLLOWING CHALLENGE BY MERCK
New York, New York – Oct. 25, 2011 –
The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better
Business Bureaus determined that Chattem Inc., could support certain advertising claims for its
Allegra brand over-the-counter allergy relief medication, but recommended the advertiser modify certain claims.
The claims at issue were challenged before NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, by
Merck Consumer Care, maker of competing allergy medication, Claritin. NAD reviewed express claims that included:
“Before Allegra, I had to wait hours for my medicine to kick in. After Allegra, I’m good to
Allegra is “proven effective even at 8X high pollen levels.”
NAD also reviewed the following implied claims:
Only Allegra (with a formula providing fast, non-drowsy and 24-hour relief) has “the power to
relieve your toughest symptoms.”
Other OTC allergy medication – but not Allegra – will cause consumers to wait hours before
they experience allergy relief and this wait will happen every time they take the medicine.
Taking Allegra can cause consumers with allergies to become fully alert.
(Full text of decision available to media upon request.)
NAD reviews the totality or overall net impression of advertising – not merely words or phrases standing alone – and considers the visual context, as well. A claim found to be implied by NAD need
not be the only message conveyed by an advertisement, it need only be one of the messages conveyed by an advertisement.
In its review of the claim that only Allegra “Combines Fast, Non-Drowsy, 24-Hour Relief With The
Power To Relieve Your Toughest Allergy Symptoms,” NAD determined that consumers could take away a message of exclusive superiority – a message that was not supported by the evidence in the
record. NAD recommended the advertiser modify its claims to avoid conveying the unsupported implied message that Allegra is the only allergy medicine with the power to relieve the toughest allergy symptoms.
Regarding the advertiser’s speed-of-action claims (i.e. that Allegra provides “fast” relief), NAD
recommended the advertiser more prominently disclose that the product “starts working at hour one.” Further, NAD recommended that, to the extent the advertiser wishes to distinguish itself from
other allergy relief medicines on the market on the basis of Allegra being “fast,” it do so by modifying such claims to clearly and conspicuously disclose that this applies to the first dose only.
During the course of NAD’s review, the advertiser informed NAD that it had modified certain
broadcast advertising that depicted an allergy sufferer who complained that “Before Allegra, my allergy medicine made me drowsy,” and then showed the same person – post-Allegra – animated
and lively, with a voiceover that stated “After “After Allegra, I’m up and alert.” The advertiser advised NAD that it had changed the phrase “I’m up and alert” to “I’m back in the game.” NAD noted is appreciation of the modification, which it found necessary and proper to avoid
conveying the message that Allegra has a stimulating effect, a claim unsubstantiated by the evidence in the record. Finally, NAD determined that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis for its claim that Allegra is “proven effective even at 8x high pollen levels.”
Chattem, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company will incorporate NAD's recommendations
“regarding disclosures in its future advertising.”
NAD's inquiry was conducted under NAD/CARU/NARB Procedures for the Voluntary Self-Regulation of
National Advertising. Details of the initial inquiry, NAD's decision, and the advertiser's response will be
included in the next NAD/CARU Case Report.
About Advertising Industry Self-Regulation:
The National Advertising Review Council (NARC) was formed in 1971. NARC
establishes the policies and procedures for the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus,
the CBBB’s Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) and the Electronic
Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP).
The NARC Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the American Advertising Federation, Inc. (AAF), American
Association of Advertising Agencies, Inc., (AAAA), the Association of National Advertisers, Inc. (ANA), Council of Better
Business Bureaus, Inc. (CBBB), Direct Marketing Association (DMA), Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) and Interactive
Advertising Bureau (IAB). Its purpose is to foster truth and accuracy in national advertising through voluntary self-regulation.
NAD, CARU and ERSP are the investigative arms of the advertising industry’s voluntary self-regulation program. Their
casework results from competitive challenges from other advertisers, and also from self-monitoring traditional and new
media. NARB, the appeals body, is a peer group from which ad-hoc panels are selected to adjudicate NAD/CARU cases that
are not resolved at the NAD/CARU level. This unique, self-regulatory system is funded entirely by the business community;
CARU is financed by the children’s advertising industry, while NAD/NARC/NARB’s primary source of funding is derived from
membership fees paid to the CBBB. ERSP’s funding is derived from membership in the Electronic Retailing Association. For
more information about advertising industry self-regulation, please visit www.narcpartners.org.
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