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Clif, Kind settle dispute over energy bar claims

NEW YORK — Clif Bar & Co. has agreed to discontinue the use of the claims “The Ultimate Energy Bar” and “an optimal blend of protein, fat and carbs” following a recommendation by the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs.

The claims, which appeared in an online commercial for the company’s Clif Energy Bars, were challenged by Kind LLC, a maker of competing energy bars. The 30-second online commercial “Let’s Move the World” was launched by Clif on Hulu, Roku and YouTube as part of a campaign to motivate people to move more often. The challenged claim “The Ultimate Energy Bar” appears on screen and the voiceover states, “Let’s keep moving with the ultimate energy bar purposefully crafted with an optimal blend of protein, fat and carbs to keep you moving.” In the background men and women are featured skateboarding and those who were running and weightlifting are now seen eating Clif Energy Bars.

NAD determined that Clif’s claim “The Ultimate Energy Bar” purposefully crafted with “an optimal blend of protein, fat and carbs” conveys “an implied comparative superiority message that must be supported.” NAD said that while “The Ultimate Energy Bar” claim by itself may convey a message of hyperbole or non-provable opinion, the claim in the commercial is immediately followed by measurable product attributes telling the consumer why the product is the “ultimate” and rendering it an objectively provable claim requiring substantiation.
The claim was not supported because Clif provided no information on competitor energy bars, no specific details regarding the actual blend of protein, fat and carbs in Clif Energy Bars, and no explanation as to why the Clif Energy Bar’s blend is optimal or better than competitor’s energy bars for the activities depicted in the commercial, according to the NAD.

For these reasons, NAD determined that the challenged claim “The Ultimate Energy Bar” with “an optimal blend of protein, fat and carbs” is not substantiated and should be discontinued.
In response to NAD’s ruling, Clif said it would comply with the recommendation, but added it “disagrees with NAD’s determination that juxtaposing these phrases to one another takes each ‘out of the realm of puffery.’”

“Clif agrees to cease juxtaposing its ‘ultimate energy bar’ tagline with its reference to ‘optimal’ nutrients,” the company said.

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