Words of Advertising Wisdom Derived from Case Reviews

There are three solid grounds on how a product or service can claim “No.1.” “No.1” claim will only be allowed when (1) it is substantiated with third party data covering the immediately preceding 12-month period; (2) the data is verifiable across the competitive landscape; and (3) its presentation is clearly delineated of defined category. The delineation must be communicated upfront within the statement where the “No.1” claim is being made.

A claim, even when based on facts, still has the tendency to be disparaging. It all depends on the tone and manner on how it was presented.

The claim of being the “best” is not synonymous to being “No. 1.” “Best” is a superiority claim which pertains to the excellence of a product/service in a specific or set of attributes while a “No.1″ claim is leadership on sales which is hinged on having the largest market share or highest profitability margin measured by the volume of goods/services sold or the value of those goods/services. A product/service claiming to be the best does not necessarily mean that it is the market leader.”

In the absence of a local industry standard that would gauge the veracity of a technical claim, it is acceptable to refer to an international standard set by a particular institution but reference should take into account the full framework and not selected aspects only that are favorable to the advertiser.

The use of term “safe” in advertising an OTC drug implies that the product is 100% safe and absolutely void of any risk or danger. Contraindications, warnings on use, side effects and/or precautions found in an OTC product’s label/packaging and PIL negates such absolute claim.

To claim leadership in sales, a claimant must confirm that it is leading in both physical units sold and in the resulting peso volume on a cumulative basis, covering the immediately preceding 12-month period.

Indication of the specific time elapsed between the “before” and “after” situation is not necessary when a cosmetic product is essentially communicating its immediate resulting benefit upon application.

If a comparative claim is only pertaining to a specific or set of product attributes/features, it must be clearly presented within the claim itself and not be hidden through qualifying supers of fine prints. Qualifying supers or fine prints should only be used as support to the claim and not contain the claim itself.

The use of the copy “vs. leading brand” as pertaining to the leading brand falls within the permissible grounds of indirect comparison advertising.

The standard for claiming “No.1” is premised on a nationwide scale. If the “No.1” claim relates only to a specific area(s) within the Philippines (e.g. Metro Manila, GMA, Visayas, Mindanao), outside or regional (e.g. Asia, SEA, Japan) or on a worldwide scale, it must be qualified as such.

A recognition title (e.g. “Asia’s Best”) bestowed to a brand previously by an award-giving institution can still be used in its current advertising materials provided that the communication and presentation of such title is properly qualified as to when it was conferred and the name of the award-giving institution.

Consumer’s standpoint will best gauge whether ad advertising element is misleading a significant number of consumers by its falsity and exaggeration.

In Philippine advertising, the term “ilang” is defined as several others or others; substantiation should refer to at least two competitive products with significant market shares (total of at least 55% market share). “Ibang” is defined as another one; the competitive data should be for a major player in the market and/or the product’s closest competitor or the market leader itself.

An advertising slogan used over an extensive period of time may form part of the brand’s equity. However, its extensive usage alone does not make it an absolute and uncontestable truth. The acceptability of any advertising slogan will always be dependent on the context of how it was used in an advertisement.”

“Context is key. In gauging the accuracy of an advertising element (copy, audio, video), it must be reviewed within the framework of the advertising material and not as a singular element.”