S&C Obtains National Advertising Review Board Win for Philips Oral Healthcare

December 5, 2017

On December 5, S&C obtained a favorable final resolution before the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) on behalf of client Philip Oral Healthcare LLC in a challenge brought by Procter & Gamble (P&G) with regard to P&G's Oral B competitive line of rechargeable toothbrushes and Philips' “Start Your Day” commercials for its Sonicare® brand toothbrush. The NAD, a forum for competitive disputes involving national advertising, had ruled in favor of P&G and recommended that two claims in Philips' 15- and 30-second “Start Your Day” advertisements be discontinued: (1) the claim that the Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum removed significantly more plaque than the Oral-B 7000 in a “deep clean mode”; and (2) a compelling comparison of the sound between the Sonicare line of products against the Oral-B line of products.
Philips appealed the ruling to the NARB, an appellate panel of advertising professionals and academics that oversees arbitral decisions reached by the NAD, which rejected nearly all of the NAD's findings. Significantly, the NARB concluded that Philips' use of sound was fair and not misleading in the advertisements. It also concluded that the plaque removal claim was consumer relevant, supported by a methodologically sound clinical study and could be appropriately relied upon to establish superiority. The NARB's decision provides a clear path for Philips to continue to advertise its superior Sonicare® products.
The S&C team representing Philips was led by Michael Steinberg, along with Brian England.