Prego Spaghetti Sauce

August 1st, 2013

Prego claimed that in blind taste tests even Ragu users preferred Prego spaghetti sauce, and it advertised as much on television and in print. But Ragu objected to the blind taste test claim that put down its sauce and brought the issue to the NAD.

NAD investigated and asked Prego to substantiate their taste test claims. According to NAD,

[Prego] offered as evidence a consumer perception survey; however, NAD questioned whether certain flaws in the design of the survey rendered it unreliable as a basis for determining how consumer evaluated the challenged advertising.

As such, NAD advised Prego to discontinue or modify the ads. Prego claimed that the ads were only supposed to indicate that consumers preferred “Prego Traditional pasta sauce over Ragu Old World Style Traditional pasta sauce,” and was disappointed NAD thought consumers might be misled otherwise. Prego had already discontinued the ads, and said it would take NAD’s recommendations into consideration while developing future ads.

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The National Advertising Division, or NAD, is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. NAD asks advertisers to substantiate or change their claims in advertisements. As part of a voluntary system of self-regulation, however, its recommendations can be ignored by the offending advertisers. In those instances, NAD refers the offender to federal consumer protection agencies.

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