The National Advertising Division, run by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, said it told Swiffer manufacturer Procter & Gamble (PG) that it should stop saying its product is superior to brooms.
The Dirt on the Claims
The Libman Co. argued that ads boasting that Swiffer Sweeper cleans floors "50 percent more" and "leaves floors up to three times cleaner" than brooms on "dirt, dust and hair" had no basis and that testing that had been done to support the claims weren't fair. Among the claims made in Swiffer ads:
- "Swiffer Sweeper leaves your floors up to three times cleaner than a broom" on dirt, dust and hair.
- "Dry cloths leave floors up to three times cleaner vs. broom on dirt, dust and hair."
- Swiffer Sweeper picks up "50 percent more dirt, dust and hair than with a broom."
"Following its review of the evidence in the record, NAD determined that the challenged claims, which appeared prominently in the challenged advertising and on product packaging, conveyed the unsupported message that the Swiffer Sweeper significantly outperforms all brooms on all household surfaces, a message that was not supported by the evidence in the record," it said.
Only Two Brooms Tested
And only two brooms were tested for the claims, the group said. "There was no evidence in the record that the two brooms represent or perform similarly to the vast majority of the brooms in the marketplace," according to the National Advertising Division. "Further, the advertiser tested only hardwood, vinyl and ceramic tile."
Even the amount of space used for the tests -- nine square feet -- was found troubling by the advertising panel, which concluded: "NAD found the advertiser's evidence to be materially flawed and recommended that P&G discontinue the challenged claims."
Procter & Gamble, in its response to the findings, said: "While disappointed by the recommendation, P&G is committed to self-review of advertising. The company will discontinue the challenged claims and will consider the NAD's recommendations in future advertising."