P&G Told to Drop 'Four Out of Five Vets' Iams Claim

31 August 2007

ARLINGTON, Virginia: "Four out of five veterinarians" don't, it would appear, "recommend Iams petfoods to help dogs and cats live healthier longer".

And this week the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus invited the Procter & Gamble petfoods unit to kick that claim.

The NAD decision is unrelated to the recent spate of pet deaths caused by ingredients imported from China. Rather, it is concerned with the use of weasel words in advertising, following a challenge by Colgate-Palmolive's Hill's Science Diet petfood.

The ad standards body recommended that Iams modify the "healthier longer" part, which it said implied comparison to other brands.

Such a claim wasn't supported by P&G's veterinary survey or other evidence. Moreover, it wasn't clear from P&G's survey results that vets recommended Iams because it keeps pets "healthier longer."

Instead, suggests NAD, Iams could justify a "narrowly drawn and properly qualified claim that 'among the leading brands they recommend, four out of five vets recommend Iams'".

In a statement the Cincinnati colossus said it would take NAD's recommendations into consideration when developing future ads. Nonetheless, it still believes its survey supports the "healthier longer" portion of the claim.

In addition to Iams, P&G also markets Eukanuba petfood products. Both, however, are actually manufactured by Menu Foods of Canada.

Data sourced from AdAge.com; additional content by WARC staff