BBB National Programs Archive
NAD Examines Advertising within NextAdvisor Widget, Recommends Advertiser Discontinue ‘Jaw-Dropping’ Claim
New York, NY – Sept. 14, 2016 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that NextAdvisor, Inc., an online research, review and advice site, discontinue the claim “A Jaw-Dropping 10% Cash Back Card Has Arrived” featured in one of the company’s recommendation widgets.
NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
The advertising claim at issue came to the attention of NAD through NAD’s ongoing monitoring.
By way of background, NextAdvisor explained to NAD that it is an online research, review and advice site that offers online reviews and comparisons of various products and services in areas that include finance, technology, lifestyle and small business. Its goal, the company said, it is to provide consumers with comprehensive information and helpful insights about third-party products and services.
NextAdvisor included the claim “A Jaw Dropping 10% Cash Back Card Has Arrived” in a hyperlink advertisement – or “Review Link” – intended to direct traffic to one of NextAdvisor’s online reviews of the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card.
NAD determined that the claim within the widget – “jaw dropping 10% cash back card” – omitted material limitations on the cash back offer, noting that the offer is limited to purchases from wireless service providers, a single and narrow category, and subject to a $200 cap.
NextAdvisor maintained that the Review Link is not an advertisement and explained that NextAdvisor reviews can be accessed free of charge by clicking on the company’s Review Link, which takes consumers to NextAdvisor’s independent review of a product or service.
However, NAD has consistently held that the material terms and conditions of an advertised program must be “clearly and conspicuously communicated within the four corners of the advertising in which that claim appears,” so that a company has not “attracted business which it would not otherwise have obtained” through a “misleading initial approach.”
Although limitations on the offer are detailed when consumers click on this link and land on NextAdvisor’s review of the card, NAD determined that a subsequent disclosure was not sufficient. NAD noted in its decision that even advertising appearing “in space-constrained formats must include clear and conspicuous disclosures of the material terms of the product or service. While space-constrained advertising may, under certain circumstances, link to disclosures on a separate website, the advertisement itself cannot be misleading.”
NAD precedent is clear that the card issuer itself could not omit the material limitations on a 10 percent cash-back offer in its advertising; affiliates marketing the same card cannot make claims that the issuer could not make and are held to same standard to assure that advertising is truthful, accurate and not misleading.
NAD recommended that NextAdvisor discontinue its unqualified claim that a “jaw-dropping 10% cash back card has arrived.”
In its advertiser’s statement, NextAdvisor said that it is a strong supporter of advertising self-regulation and NAD and accordingly agrees to comply with NAD’s recommendation to stop running the challenged advertisement.
However, the company noted, it “respectfully disagrees with NAD’s decision that NextAdvisor’s space-constrained hyperlink ad to NextAdvisor’s independent review describing the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card needed to contain the material terms and conditions of that card.”