BBB National Programs Archive

Cochlear Americas Agrees to Permanently Modify Magazine Advertising Following NAD Inquiry

New York, NY – May 6, 2019 – Cochlear Americas has agreed to permanently modify its “Ask the Expert” magazine advertising to include a clear and conspicuous disclosure that the pieces are advertising for its cochlear implants.  The challenge arose from NAD’s routine monitoring program.

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 initiated an inquiry into a Cochlear advertisement for cochlear implants that appeared in the October 2018 issue of the AARP Bulletin.  The Cochlear advertisement was headed “Ask the Expert” and shared a page with an AARP financial advice column entitled “Your Money.”  The author, identified as a “cochlear implant surgeon,” explained how cochlear implants work and the benefits of cochlear implants.  The ad displayed Cochlear America’s logo and a Cochlear specific web link at the bottom.

The advertisement did not indicate it was advertising, to distinguish it from the surrounding editorial content.  NAD noted that, regardless of the medium, advertising must identify itself as such. An advertiser has the obligation to present its advertising claims in a format that consumers will clearly and unambiguously understand to be advertising.

Relying on Cochlear’s representation that all future “Ask the Expert” print advertisements will have an “ADVERTISEMENT” banner when sent to the publisher, NAD did not review the advertising on its merits.  The voluntarily modified advertising will be treated, for compliance purposes, as though NAD recommended its modification and the advertiser agreed to comply.

Cochlear Americas, after reviewing the decision, said in its advertiser’s statement that it appreciates NAD bringing the matter to its attention and that it would comply with NAD’s recommendations.

Note: A recommendation by NAD to modify or discontinue a claim is not a finding of wrongdoing and an advertiser’s voluntary discontinuance or modification of claims should not be construed as an admission of impropriety. It is the policy of NAD not to endorse any company, product, or service. Decisions finding that advertising claims have been substantiated should not be construed as endorsements.