In this competitive environment, it is essential to have
powerful product claims that an everyday consumer can easily understand and differentiate from other similar products. Products should speak for themselves at the point of sale with claims that are not only appealing but truly deliver on performance. Supporting product claims that can withstand scrutiny is a challenging activity that needs to be done before market introduction. This article is a brief overview of the types of claims that can be made and the basic elements that are needed to make a good claims dossier.
What are product claims?
A claim is a statement that addresses some positive aspect of the product’s performance or a benefit to be gained from use of that product. There are two simple rules in writing claims:
- They should be simple enough for an everyday consumer to understand, yet powerful enough to motivate consumers to buy your product.
- They should differentiate your product and what it does from other, similar competitive products.
In writing claims, it is important to distinguish between product features and product benefits. Product features are simply a statement of what your product contains, whereas product benefits describe what the product does. For example, “Vaseline Spray n’ Go with Aloe and Glycerin” describes the features of this product. But if the sentence were to read, “Vaseline Spray n’ Go with Aloe and Glycerin moisturizes and leaves the skin soft,” it would describe not only the product features but also the associated benefits of moisturization and skin softness. Good claim language ties the product features to the product benefits.
Drug vs. Cosmetic Claims – Who decides?
Whether a product is a drug or a cosmetic is based on its intended use. Drugs are “articles that are intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals” [FD&C Act, sec. 201(g)(1)]. Cosmetics are “”articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body…for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance” [FD&C Act, sec. 201(i)].
The Four Basic Elements of a Good Claims Package:
- A good technical rationale.
- Good instrumental data showing differences with and without the beneficial ingredients.
- In controlled clinical studies, there should be statistical differences between test and control samples.
- An average consumer should be able to recognize the benefits without being prompted with a concept statement.
Watch for part two of my article on claims substantiation in August, when I’ll explore these and other aspects of claims in more depth.
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2 Responses to “Substantiating Product Claims, Pt 1 – The Essentials”
Dear Arun Nandagiri,
What is your experience – who is the person in company responsible on claims – is it chemist from lab or marketing person? What is the best way to develop new project – start from actives, literature, make claims, recipe and product or these should go in different order.
What would you suggest for good claim writing.
In writing and generating claims, I would prefer to have a team working on this project. Key people that are needed on the team are:
A person from Marketing that is responsible for the project(Project Manager). It is the responsibility of this person to request claims that are based on a good understanding of need gaps in the market, claims that are well differentiated and can motivate the consumer to buy this product . Claims should not only be creative but should also have a reasonable probability of technical success.
A lead person from R&D who will coordinate all of the technical efforts to support the claim(Technical Project leader). The Technical project leader may elect to have a multi-disciplinary team of persons with certain specialized skills on his/her team such as a person responsible for all the analytical work, a microscopist, an instrumental chemist, a salon stylist, a product formulator, and a statistician. Other specialists such as a colloidal chemist or a surfactant chemist, a librarian may be drawn into the team as needed. If such skills are not internally available, the Technical Project Leader may look for consultants or suppliers for the required expertise as needed. The make up of the technical team would vary depending on the types of claims being made.
A person from the Legal group to evaluate the claims and the supporting data to see if the claims support is adequate and can withstand challenges. This is particularly important when making superiority claims and/or when data is proposed to be used for TV and print advertising.
Final approval rests with the upper Management of the company and is based on the collective recommendation from the team.