NAD Questions Wind Energy Claims in Ziploc Bag Ads

by | Oct 21, 2010

The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus says ads claiming that S.C. Johnson’s Ziploc Evolve sandwich bags are “made with wind energy” gives the impression that no fossil fuels were used to manufacture the bags, reports JSOnline.

Linda Bean, a NAD spokeswoman, told JSOnline that ‘green’ marketing claims are an emerging area of review for the group.  As “consumers have become increasingly concerned about sustainability and environmental issues, including greenhouse gas emissions, companies have responded with both changes in company practices and in the claims made in their advertising,” the group said.

S.C. Johnson made several claims in television commercials and print advertisements for the Ziploc Evolve, stating that the bags were “made with 25 percent less plastic” and they are “better for the environment” through the reduction in plastic used in the manufacturing process, according to the article.

NAD did not have any problem with these claims, but did with an asterisk in the ad after the statement “Made with Wind Energy.” In smaller print, the ads explained the asterisk: “Made with a combination of renewable energy and energy from traditional sources.”

S.C. Johnson makes the bags at its factory in Bay City, Mich., which in 2008 received half of its energy from wind energy. The company said it was careful not to imply that the bags were made with wind energy only and disagreed with NAD’s assessment that the message could convey that the product is made entirely from renewable energy.

S.C. Johnson has pulled the Ziploc Evolve ads and said it will “take NAD’s concern into account in any future Ziploc Evolve advertising,” reports JSOnline.

Most recently, NAD recommended that Seventh Generation either modify or discontinue certain advertising claims for the company’s household cleaning and laundry products after being challenged by Procter & Gamble (P&G).

Green marketers may have to step up their marketing strategies. The FTC recently proposed several revisions to the its “Green Guides,” which include claims for renewable energy, along with renewable materials, carbon offsets and product certifications.

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