The claim started appearing on General Mills’ Progresso Light Soup range following reformulation, but Campbell’s had argued that the claim could either refer to an improvement on a previous version of Progresso Light Soups or imply that the soups were better than those made by rival brands – especially given the competitive advertising history between the two companies.
Both the Campbell Soup Company and Progresso have run advertising campaigns over the past several years casting each other’s soups in a negative light. The so-called ‘Soup Wars’ were largely focused on monosodium glutamate (MSG) content, thereby also infuriating the Glutamate Association, which pointed out that MSG has been the victim of poor public perception even though it “has long been recognized as safe”.
NAD ruled that General Mills had made it clear that the ‘Now Even Better’ claim referred to previous versions of Progresso Light soups, and that the advertiser had provided sufficient evidence to support the claim. General Mills told the NAD that improvements to the range included increasing the size of chicken pieces in five flavors of soup, increasing the amount of vegetables in two flavors, improving the quality of beef in one flavor and decreasing the amount of sodium in five flavors.
The NAD also rejected Campbell’s assertion that if the claim was comparative – referring to improvements compared to previous versions of Progresso Light Soups – then General Mills should be required to disclose the specific nature of the improvements to consumers.
“NAD considered but was not persuaded by the challenger’s argument that the claim should be qualified to disclose the actual improvements made to the advertiser’s light soups,” the division said.
General Mills said the company was pleased with NAD’s decisions and “appreciates the opportunity to participate in the NAD self-regulatory process.”