Wrigley Asked to Cease Eclipse Ad Claims

The National Advertising Review Board has recommended that the Wm. Wrigley, Jr. Co. make radical changes to advertising for its Eclipse Gum. After reviewing the company’s research and marketing messages, the New York-based group has advised that the gum maker discontinue the claim that “most other gums just mask bad breath.”

The NARB also suggested that Eclipse ads should avoid stating or implying that it has been scientifically proven that the magnolia bark extract in the gum kills or helps kill germs that cause breath. Additionally, the NARB said Wrigley shouldn’t state that Eclipse’s new formulation works better than the original. (The NARB is the appeals division of the National Advertising Review Council, the ad industry’s self-regulatory system.)

Cadbury Adams USA, LLC, challenged its competitors’ claims with the National Advertising Division. It took exception to ad copy that said, among other things: “Now Eclipse contains a natural ingredient, scientifically proven to help kill the germs that cause bad breath” and “Most other gums just mask bad breath. We kill the germs that cause it.” Energy BBDO is Eclipse’s lead agency.

The NAD sided with Cadbury. Wrigley appealed the NAD’s decision with the NARB, which has now rejected that appeal.

At best, the organization said, Wrigley can advertise that there is emerging evidence of magnolia bark extract’s ability to kill germs that cause bad breath. 

“Wrigley respectfully disagrees with the NARB’s findings and stands behind the scientific research regarding Eclipse gum with magnolia bark extract,” said Wrigley rep Jennifer Jackson Luth. “We do appreciate the time and support shown by the NARB during this self-regulatory process and will consider the panel’s recommendations for future advertising.”

Wrigley spent $50 million advertising the Eclipse brand last year (excluding online), per Nielsen. For the first nine months of this year, it spent $17 million.

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