LG scolded by NAD, Samsung, Sony for false advertising

Jan 31, 2012
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Both Sony and Samsung have come to the National Advertising Division to raise claims that LG's current line of advertising for their 3D televisions is based on unfair claims and should be ended immediately. The decision came down on the 26th of January from NAD that they recommend that because the advertising does not hold up to their standards, the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus would have LG discontinue advertising claims made for their Cinema 3D Television and 3D glasses. In both cases, it seemed that not only did LG not perform fair tests to attain these claims, they were not entirely truthful in their final write-ups of what they found.

Of course Sony and Samsung complained just as quick as the advertisements were released, finding in both situations that NAD both took their case and challenged LG separately, finding essentially the same thing: LG's findings were simply unfair. One of the most telling examples is listed by NAD here, siting the actual units used to do the tests:

"NAD, in considering the advertiser’s evidence, noted that LG’s “broad line claims are premised upon a single test of the parties’ entry-level model 3D televisions” although the record was clear that all three parties make several models of 3D televisions within their respective lines – from entry-level models to high-end technological 3D sets – each configured with any number of combinations of features and attributes. … NAD also recommended that the advertiser discontinue its characterization of the tested Samsung 6420 model as Samsung’s “leading model."

Claims ranging from LG's largest advertising point, that "4 out of 5" consumers preferred LG 3D televisions, to the quite similar claim that consumers preferred LG 3D technology "3 to 1" over Samsung 3D technology, have all been recommended by NAD to be permanently discontinued. LG prepared separate statements for both cases and outright disagreed with the findings, saying they still respect NAD, but wouldn't be agreeing to this situation:

“LG supported its claims with an innovative national consumer preference study that was designed and administered by a leading ISO 9001:2008 certified survey research firm. LG believes that the study firmly established consumers' overwhelming preference for the LG 3D television over the challenger's comparable 3D television. …

“The advertising claims at issue in this challenge have run their planned course; nevertheless, LG respects the NAD self-regulatory process and will take the NAD’s views into consideration in its advertising going forward.” - LG

Some of the statements brought up in both cases that Samsung and Sony felt should be removed from advertising on the part of LG were as follows. And don't forget that NAD actually did find in favor of LG for one of these: “[LG Cinema 3D provides] Picture Perfect 3D. From Any Angle,” saying it's monadic. These are the statements in question:

• “FOUR OUT OF FIVE CONSUMERS PREFER LG CINEMA 3D OVER SONY AND SAMSUNG ACTIVE
3D IN HEAD-TO-HEAD COMPARISON”
• “In 3D TV Tests, 4 out of 5 People Choose LG over Sony and Samsung for Overall 3D
Experience”
• “4 out of 5 People Choose LG Cinema 3D over Sony and Samsung for Overall 3D Experience”
• “4 out of 5 People Choose LG Cinema 3D over Sony and Samsung for Brightness”
• “4 out of 5 People Choose LG Cinema 3D over Sony and Samsung for Color”
• “4 out of 5 People Choose LG Cinema 3D over Sony and Samsung for Picture Quality”
• “4 out of 5 People Choose LG Cinema 3D over Sony and Samsung for Glasses”
• “[LG Cinema 3D provides] Picture Perfect 3D. From Any Angle”;
• “Consumers favor passive 3D technology, like LG Cinema 3D, because they prefer every
aspect of the passive 3D TV experience”
• “Consumers’ clear preference for passive 3D” has been demonstrated by “independent,
unbiased research”

Again the most notable case here is the fact that Samsung's Model 46” 6420 was the only one used in consumer tests. This model, as Samsung notes, is not only just one of 43 Samsung televisions currently out there with 3D capability, it's not even a general distribution model. Samsung has two different screen types on the market now with televisions with 3D capabilities ranging between 40 to 65-inches and prices between $1,000 to $5,000. Because LG was in no way clear on this point (or even that it used that one TV) in its advertising, "the advertiser’s broad claims convey the unsubstantiated message that the test results show that 4 out of 5 people prefer all televisions in the LG Cinema 3D line to all Samsung 3D televisions when that was not the case."

It appears to this editor that LG has acted in very bad taste in this situation, and the full report has one whole heck of a lot more issues to burn through than this. Advertising can be a wicked world to be a part of, and it's no small deal when you're found to be doing the false brand of it. We're expecting this case to move on past this set of reports without a doubt.


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