Procter & Gamble Will Stop Hating On Brooms So Much In Ads

uptothreetimesThe pitch for Procter & Gamble’s Swiffer floor-cleaning products is that they’re easier to use and more effective than brooms and mops. That may be the case, but a competitor has some issues with current Swiffer ads bragging that the brand’s sweepers are [up to] three times more effective than a broom at picking up dirt, dust, and hair. That competitor: a broom company.

You may not know that the Council of Better Business Bureaus have a division that investigates ad claims, but they do. The National Advertising Division describes itself as “an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation,” and refers cases to the Federal Trade Commission when a company doesn’t respond to concerns about their advertising.

The broom company that questioned Swiffer’s ad claims, Libman Brooms, took its concerns to the NAD. Swiffer’s ads brag about the superiority of cloths to brooms, but of course the claims are spangled with asterisks and the . These claims could be found on Swiffer packaging, as well as in ads and on the brand’s website. (Screen grabs included in this post were taken this afternoon.) The NAD investigated these claims:

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  • “Swiffer Sweeper Leaves your floors up to 3X cleaner than a broom**” **on dirt, dust and hair
  • “Thicker cloths leave floors up to 3X cleaner. **”) **Than a broom on dirt, dust and hair.
  • “DRY CLOTHS LEAVE FLOORS UP TO 3X CLEANER ** vs. broom on dirt, dust and hair.”
  • Swiffer Sweeper “Pick[s] up 50% more dirt, dust, and hair than with a broom.”

Libman’s objection to these claims was that they are too broad, while the tests Procter & Gamble based them on were quite limited. The tests included a relatively small variety of surfaces, and larger particles that might not stick to a sweeper pad had been sifted out of the “dirt” used for testing. The surfaces included only test surfaces of hardwood, vinyl, and ceramic tile that measured nine square feet. That’s three feet long along each edge, maybe the size of a tiny half bathroom. As you might expect, one of the brooms used for the tests was made by Libman.

Procter & Gamble has agreed to stop using these claims in their ads. “While disappointed by the recommendation, P&G is committed to self review of advertising,” the company said in their official advertiser’s statment. “[P&G] will discontinue the challenged claims and will consider the NAD’s recommendations in future advertising.”

NAD Recommends P&G Discontinue Claims Made for Swiffer Sweeper Following Challenge by Libman Broom Maker [Advertising Self-Regulatory Council]
Here’s why P&G is backing off ad claims for Swiffer [Cincinnati Business Courier]