Review board says Dyson should cease unsubstantiated vacuum claims

The National Advertising Review Board (NARB) recommended changes to Dyson’s claims about its vacuum cleaners on Tuesday, February 12. The changes involve Dyson V8 cordless vacuums suction power, vacuum runtime, and battery technology. Dyson agreed to follow the NARB’s recommended changes in future advertising.

The NARB recommendations follow soon after Consumer Reports’ recent announcement that the testing bureau removed Dyson’s stick vacuum cleaners from its list of recommended products. Consumer Reports’ action was based on its vacuum reliability rating scores and is unrelated to the issues in the NARB recommendations.

There are two stages to this story. Originally, Dyson competitor SharkNinja challenged claims in Dyson’s V8 vacuum cleaner advertising to the National Advertising Division (NAD). NAD is an advertising industry self-regulatory investigative body. After the NAD issued recommendations, Dyson appealed to the NARB, which issued its modifications of the NAD recommendation. The two parts of the process are summarized below for each of the three challenged claims.

NAD Recommendations

Dyson’s “most powerful suction” claims

The NAD took issue with Dyson’s “most powerful suction” claim for the V8 vacuum, stating that consumers might construe the claim to apply to all vacuum cleaning modes. Therefore the investigative unit recommended Dyson disclose the claim only applied to “max” cleaning mode. The NAD also recommended Dyson make it clear the reference was to cordless vacuum cleaners only and that it applied to all V8 models.

Dyson’s “up to 40 minutes runtime” claims

The NAD recommended Dyson stop claims of “40 minutes runtime” and “up to 40 minutes runtime.” According to the NAD, the claims were “unsubstantiated” because not many consumers use the Dyson V8 that long while cleaning.

Dyson’s “new battery chemistry” claims

Regarding the V8’s “new battery chemistry,” the NAD recommended Dyson stop referring to the chemistry as new since the V8 has been for sale since 2016.

NARB Recommendations

Dyson’s “most powerful suction” claims

After review, the NARB agreed with the recommendation that Dyson disclose the powerful suction claims were in comparison to other cordless vacuums. The NARB didn’t agree it was necessary to make a reference to “max mode only” or to make a point about applying to all V8 vacuum models.

Dyson’s “up to 40 minutes runtime” claims

The NARB agreed the “40 minutes runtime” claim wasn’t supported, but that the “up to 40 minutes” claim need not be discontinued if accompanied by “clear and conspicuous disclosure” that the runtime was without motorized attachments and would vary depending on cleaning mode and attachments. However, the NARB also recommended that, regardless of qualifying disclosures, the “up to 4o minutes runtime” claim should not appear near images of the V8 vacuum with the motorized attachment.

Dyson’s “new battery chemistry” claims

The NARB agreed with the NAD and did not change the investigative group’s recommendation to drop the “new battery chemistry” claim.

Dyson agreed to follow the NARB Panel’s recommendations in future ads. “Dyson appreciates NARB’s determination modifying several of NAD’s recommendations,” the company said.

Digital Trends reached out to Dyson for further comment and will update this post when we hear from the company.

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