In a proceeding brought by Riviana Foods, Inc. (maker of Ronzoni brand pasta) against Goya Foods, Inc., the National Advertising Division (NAD) recommended that Goya discontinue its advertising claim that its Excelsior brand pasta is “Puerto Rico’s Favorite Pasta.”
Riviana initiated the NAD proceeding when it observed Goya’s advertising material bearing the ad claim that Excelsior is “Puerto Rico’s Favorite Pasta,” including on product packaging, as well as in online video and social media posts.
Riviana argued that the “favorite” claim was unsubstantiated by consumer data or sales data. Goya responded that its statement was merely “classic puffery” permissibly used in advertising, and therefore no actual data to substantiate the claim were required.
In a decision dated April 11, 2019, the NAD concluded that the claim was not advertising puffery and that its use by Goya reasonably conveys a message to a consumer that Excelsior is preferred above all other pasta brands in Puerto Rico.
NAD stated that such brand preference claims for a market like Puerto Rico are objectively measurable. Because Goya had not provided any evidence that consumers in Puerto Rico prefer Excelsior to all other brands, NAD recommended that Goya discontinue its claim that Excelsior brand pasta is “Puerto Rico’s Favorite Pasta.”
The NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. If a competitor of your product is advertising or marketing its products in a manner that may be misleading to consumers, your company may have grounds to initiate a NAD proceeding and have such advertising claims withdrawn.
NAD proceedings are a quick, effective and relatively inexpensive way to ensure that consumers are provided advertising that reflects true and correct information, so they can make an informed decision when purchasing.
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