Michelin Ads Challenged by Bridgestone...Again - Tire Review Magazine

Michelin Ads Challenged by Bridgestone…Again

While finding no fault, the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has asked Michelin North America to "modify or discontinue, among other claims, certain advertising claims for the Hydro-Edge tire."

The move comes in response to a complaint filed by Bridgestone Americas challenging certain claims made by Michelin in its ads.

Michelin said it would appeal NAD’s decision to the National Advertising Review Board. "Michelin looks forward to working with the NAD in the future to continue to ensure consumers are clearly and accurately informed as they make their tire purchases," the company said.  

NAD is the advertising industry’s self-regulatory body.

On Bridgestone’s complaint, NAD said it examined "advertising claims made by Michelin in print, broadcast and Internet advertising and in a brochure provided to tire dealers nationwide."

The claims at issue included:

• "More miles. More fuel efficiency. More than what you pay for." 

• "33,000 miles longer" tire life.

• Brakes "14 feet shorter."

• "#1" in fuel efficiency; "Longer lasting, more fuel efficient."

• "best-in-its-class" for "safety, durability, fuel efficiency and utility."

According to NAD, it was “concerned with whether the basis of comparison for the superiority claims found throughout the brochure for various Michelin tires were clearly limited to the objects of the comparison or were likely to be interpreted more broadly. NAD noted that the brochure featured asterisks and endnotes to point the reader to disclosures.

"However, NAD found that, unless the endnotes were carefully read and understood, a dealer could easily take away inaccurate and unsupported messages. NAD recommended that the disclosures, whether they appear in a brochure or any other format in future advertising, be referenced in a clear and conspicuous manner and appear in immediate proximity to the claims being qualified."

This is the second time in a year that Michelin ads were challenged by Bridgestone. Last May, Michelin made a multi-state settlement "regarding alleged misrepresentations Michelin made in its advertising of Michelin fuel efficient tires." The tiremaker denied any wrongdoing, and agreed to make minor changes in the copy of print advertisements it has run concerning the purported fuel efficiency of its tires.

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