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 Breaking Headlines

Hefter Ad Claims Challenged By Ad Bureau

FEBRUARY 03, 2006 -- The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has re com mended Hefter Impact Technologies Inc., modify or discontinue claims for its Hefter Evolution ice hockey helmet. The com pany’s claim were brought to NAD’s attention through a competitive challenge filed by Bauer/Nike USA.

The NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, noted in its decision that “quantified performance claims should closely reflect the test results upon which they are based.”

Further, the NAD noted, “safety and health-related claims should be supported by com petent and reliable scientific evidence, typically in the form of controlled scientific testing yielding results that directly relate to the performance claimed in the advertising.”

At issue were express and implied advertising claims. Express claims include: “Impact Tests Prove that the New Hefter Helmet Technology Performs up to 40% Better than Existing Hockey Helmets; “The New Hefter Evolution hockey helmet…performs 35%-40% better than current helmets from Bauer Nike and CCM Reebok in impact safety tests; and “Hefter Helmets – 40% safer than existing helmets.”

According to the challenger, the advertising also gave rise to the following implied claims: Hefter Helmets protect young hockey players from concussions 40% better than all other helmets; hockey players are more likely to get a concussion if they wear hockey helmets made by Hefter’s competitors (Bauer’s helmets); and competitive helmets (including Bauer’s) are not safe.
NAD determined that the evidence in the record was not sufficient to support Hefter’s comparative performance claims and recom mended the company discontinue those claims.

Further, the NAD determined that claims related to the role played by Dr. James Kelly in the design of the helmet “be discontinued or modified to more accurately reflect Dr. Kelly’s role in the design process, and to avoid conveying a message that is broader than the evidence can support.”

Finally, the NAD said, given the absence of any credible supporting evidence, NAD recommended that the claim “a more comfortable fit with less fatigue” be discontinued.

In its advertiser’s statement, Hefter offered its thanks to the NAD for the “time and effort you spent reviewing the advertising claims made by Hefter Helmets and subsequently challenged by Bauer/Nike USA, Inc. The self-regulating service you provide is invaluable.” The company noted its disappointment in the NAD recommendations, but agreed to modify or discontinue the claims at issue.


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