New York, NY – August 10, 2023 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs recommended that The Coca-Cola Company modify or discontinue claims for its Powerade sports drink stating:
- “50% more electrolytes* vs the leading sports drink”
- “50% more electrolytes vs. Gatorade Thirst Quencher”
The claims at issue, which appear on Powerade packaging, two video commercials, and on Powerade social media pages were challenged by Stokely-Van Camp, manufacturer of Gatorade. Until recently, both Powerade and Gatorade Thirst Quencher had the same electrolyte content. Earlier this year, Coca-Cola introduced a reformulated product with an increased electrolyte load.
Although Powerade contains 50% more potassium and sodium by weight than Gatorade, NAD concluded that Coca-Cola’s “50% more electrolytes” claims overstated the significance of the nutrient difference and that standing alone and in the context of its commercials and social media reasonably conveyed the implied message that Powerade provides better performance and hydration than Gatorade.
Further, NAD determined that Coca-Cola’s social media “Strong Arm” emoji post conveyed an additional message that Powerade helps make you stronger than Gatorade.
These messages were not supported by the evidence in the record, so NAD recommended that Coca-Cola discontinue its “50% more electrolytes” claims or modify them to avoid conveying the message that Powerade provides a material increase in electrolytes or better performance or hydration than Gatorade or that drinking Powerade will make you stronger than drinking Gatorade.
NAD also concluded that Coca-Cola’s “50% more electrolytes” claims did not convey a message that Powerade is healthier than Gatorade.
In its advertiser statement, Coca-Cola stated that it will appeal NAD’s decision in its entirety. Coca-Cola further stated, “while we respect the NAD process and appreciate its efforts to reach a suitable solution, we disagree with its reasoning and analysis, and believe consumers are entitled to accurate information about the ingredients in food and beverages they purchase.”
Appeals of NAD decisions are made to the BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the appellate-level truth-in-advertising body of BBB National Programs.
All BBB National Programs case decision summaries can be found in the case decision library. For the full text of NAD, NARB, and CARU decisions, subscribe to the online archive. This release shall not be used for advertising or promotional purposes.
About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs, a non-profit organization, is the home of U.S. independent industry self-regulation, currently operating more than a dozen globally recognized programs that have been helping enhance consumer trust in business for more than 50 years. These programs provide third-party accountability and dispute resolution services that address existing and emerging industry issues, create a fairer playing field for businesses, and a better experience for consumers. BBB National Programs continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-and-teen-directed marketing, data privacy, dispute resolution, automobile warranty, technology, and emerging areas. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.
About the National Advertising Division: The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs provides independent self-regulation and dispute resolution services, guiding the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for advertising truth and accuracy, delivering meaningful protection to consumers and leveling the playing field for business.
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