Verizon Appeals National Advertising Division Recommendation to Discontinue “You Need a Better Network” Claim for its Wireless Service
New York, NY – February 22, 2023 – In a challenge brought by AT&T Services, Inc., the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs recommended that Verizon Communications, Inc. discontinue the claim “you need a better network,” as well as several implied claims, used in connection with its wireless service.
The challenged claims appear in a thirty-second holiday-themed commercial promoting Verizon’s wireless network and includes well-known actors Paul Giamatti, as the Dickens character Scrooge, and Cecily Strong. In the commercial Giamatti as Scrooge holds up his mobile phone, scowls, and complains that he can “barely get reception...” In response, Strong recommends that he “need[s] a better network. Tis the season to switch to Verizon.”
At issue for NAD was whether the claim “You need a better network” in the context of the commercial conveys an objective claim that requires substantiation or whether it falls into the realm of puffery. NAD found that although the commercial includes elements that are fanciful, it also conveys an objective comparative superiority message that Verizon’s network is better than its competitors, which requires substantiation. Because there was no support for this claim, NAD recommended that it be discontinued.
Further, NAD determined that use of the term “better” in the context of the commercial is expressly comparative because it links “better” to the specific performance attribute of cell phone reception.
In the absence of support for Verizon’s claim that it offers better reception than its competitors, NAD recommended Verizon modify the advertising to avoid conveying the implied messages that Verizon provides customers with superior reception, that Verizon has a “better network” than its competitors, and that Verizon offers superior reception due to its “better network.”
In its advertiser statement, Verizon stated that it “will appeal NAD's decision in its entirety” based on its belief that the “challenged claim does not reference AT&T or any other carriers and was nothing more than a playful, spendthrift-themed vignette that builds up to Verizon's ‘Free 5G Phone’ offer.”
Appeals of NAD decisions are made to BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the appellate-level truth-in-advertising body of BBB National Programs.
National Advertising Division Recommends MacuHealth Discontinue or Modify Certain Claims for Several Brands of Eye Health Dietary Supplements
New York, NY – September 21, 2023 – In a challenge brought by Vision Elements, the National Advertising Division (NAD) recommended that MacuHealth modify or discontinue certain claims for its dietary supplement products.
National Advertising Division Refers Advertising by SBLA Beauty to the Federal Trade Commission for Review for Failure to Participate
New York, NY – September 21, 2023 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) has referred advertising claims made by SBLA Beauty, Inc. to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after the company failed to provide a substantive response to NAD’s inquiry.
Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council Recommends Zallevo Discontinue Certain Earnings and Health-Related Product Claims
McLean, VA – August 31, 2023 – The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) recommended that Zallevo modify or discontinue certain earnings and health-related product performance claims, including claims regarding treating serious health-related conditions.
Privacy Watchdog Brings Temu into Compliance with Digital Advertising Privacy Best Practices
McLean, VA – August 29, 2023 - The Digital Advertising Accountability Program (DAAP) brought WhaleCo into compliance with the DAA Principles. Since beginning U.S. operations in September 2022, Shanghai-based WhaleCo’s mobile application, Temu, has quickly risen to become one of the top downloaded free apps.