Better Business Bureau Challenge Results in Clarifying Disclosure in Antimicrobial Toilet Seat Advertising

In response to a challenge initiated by Bemis Manufacturing Company, the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs has ruled that Ginsey Industries, Inc. needs to include additional clarifying language to validate the assertions made about the antimicrobial safeguards offered by its Clorox Antimicrobial range of toilet seats. (NAD did not find any issues with the underlying efficacy of the antimicrobial properties, solely how the antimicrobial benefits were conveyed to consumers.)

During the course of this challenge, Ginsey voluntarily committed to undertake the following measures:

  1. Incorporate a disclosure (a statement for clarification) onto its product packaging, advertising materials, and all descriptions of products featuring the term “antimicrobial.” This statement would read as follows: “This product does not provide protection against bacteria, viruses, or other disease organisms. It is important to thoroughly clean and wash this product before and after each use.”
  2. Revise all online listings of its products to eliminate the depiction of a shield containing an antimicrobial checkmark emblem positioned within the Clorox chevron logo.

NAD also recommended that Ginsey adjust its advertising to guarantee the prominent visibility of the clarifying statement. This recommendation included the following steps:

  1. Modify the advertising on its official website by relocating the clarifying statement in close proximity to any “antimicrobial” claims that trigger its usage.
  2. Collaborate with retailers to apply similar alterations to the advertising materials for its products on retail websites.

Additionally, NAD proposed that the clarifying statement should be prominently displayed and positioned in close proximity to any assertions that promote Ginsey’s products as having antimicrobial properties or containing such attributes. This recommendation extended to situations where such claims were associated with the well-known Clorox chevron logo on third-party websites.