Procter & Gamble needs to modify its advertisement claim that “four out of five veterinarians recommend Iams to help dogs and cats live healthier, longer,” according to the National Advertising Division (NAD).
The division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has asked Iams to change the “healthier, longer” part because it seemed to compare the food to other brands. But there is no such comparison that is supported by the company’s veterinary survey or any other evidence. The NAD said Iams could make the claim “among the leading brands they recommend, four out of five vets recommend Iams.”
This recommendation was not prompted by the pet food recalls, instead it was posed as a challenge by Colgate-Palmolive, marketer of Hill’s Science Diet pet food.
The Iams claim is based on a 2006 veterinarian survey. A P&G spokesperson couldn’t be reached for an answer on if Iams had conducted a similar survey after the recalls in March.
The NAD said one particular TV ad had a message that four out of five vets recommend Iams over competing brands without any support or evidence. Also, it wasn’t certain from the company’s survey if the vets recommended Iams because it keeps pets “healthier, longer.”
They also asked what are the pets living healthier and longer in comparison to. The NAD said vets in the survey offered up many factors of why pets live healthier and longer and many were not food-related. The NAD stated: “If the advertiser really wanted to find out why veterinarians recommend Iams dog food, it should simply have asked.”
P&G said it would take their recommendations in developing future advertisements, but the company believes their survey supports the “healthier, longer” part of their claim.
On Iams website, there is now a different version of their claim on the home page. It says: “Vets know how vital nutrition is to your dog’s health. And four out of five veterinarians recommend Iams.” There is an asterisk at the end of that claim which says: “in a recent veterinarian’s survey, among the leading brands they recommend.”
On a cat page of the Iams website, it claims: “vets recommend Iams to help cats live healthier, longer.”
Source: Advertising Age