First Three NAD Fast-Track SWIFT Cases Resolved by Government Agency Referral, Modified Claim, and Administrative Closure

For Immediate Release 

Contact: Abby Hills, Director of Communications, BBB National Programs, 301.412.7769 / ahills@bbbnp.org 

 

New York, NY – June 10, 2020 – Within one month of BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division (NAD) launching the NAD Fast-Track SWIFT (Single Well-Defined Issue Fast Track) challenge process earlier this spring, the goal was initiation to decision in 20 business days. 

Today, that goal was met, as the first three cases – all initiated in May – were resolved. The cases include a 5G claim challenge initiated by AT&T against Charter Communications, a challenge by Church & Dwight against dietary supplement company Pharmavite, and a dispute about infant personal care products. 

NAD Fast-Track SWIFT is an expedited process designed for single-issue digital advertising cases. The first three resolved challenges under the newly instituted process are: 

AT&T Services, Inc. vs. Charter Communications, Inc. (Spectrum): AT&T Services, Inc, challenged various iterations of Spectrum’s “5G” claim including “Now with 5G” and a map of the United States labeled “5G.” Spectrum and its parent company Charter Communications, Inc. declined to submit a substantive response to the challenge. As a result of that inaction, NAD has referred the matter to the attention of the appropriate government agencies for possible enforcement action. 

Charter had objected to its “5G” claim being reviewed in the NAD Fast-Track SWIFT process, contending that the challenged claim that its 5G service is broadly available is not expressly stated, but is an implied claim which does not belong in any of the limited categories that NAD has designated as appropriate for SWIFT challenges.  

NAD noted that while implied claims are currently not being reviewed in the SWIFT process, the express “5G” claim appeared throughout Spectrum’s television and radio commercials and website, both visually and in voiceovers. NAD has regularly reviewed advertising for services that are launched with limited availability and concluded that consumers can be misled if the material limitations on that service are not clearly and conspicuously disclosed. NAD determined that the express unqualified “5G” claim or the sufficiency of any disclosures falls within the scope of its review in the SWIFT process. 

Church & Dwight vs. Pharmavite: In response to Church & Dwight’s SWIFT challenge against Pharmavite’s Nature Made Multi Complete, Prenatal Multi + DHA Softgels, and Prenatal Gummies, the advertiser agreed to voluntarily modify its “clinically proven absorption” claims by disclosing the nutrients clinically tested.  

In its Advertiser’s Statement, Pharmavite stated that “Pharmavite’s labeling and advertising of its ‘clinically proven absorption claims’ has never been misleading, but as a strong supporter of the self-regulatory process, Pharmavite believed it was appropriate to align its current and future promotion of these products with the NAD’s assessment of how the ‘clinically proven absorption’ claims should best be depicted,” further stating that the process was “well underway at the time of the challenge.” 

The third SWIFT challenge, brought by one maker of personal infant care products versus another, was closed by consent of the parties. In administrative closures, the details of the the challenge are not disclosed. 

NAD, a division of BBB National Programs, continues to accept three types of claims for consideration in the streamlined SWIFT process: 

  • The prominence and sufficiency of disclosures in influencer marketing and native advertising; 

  • Misleading pricing and sales claims; and 

  • Misleading express claims that do not require review of complex evidence or substantiation. 

To learn more about the NAD Fast-Track SWIFT challenge process and how to file a challenge, please visit bbbprograms.org/NAD-Fast-Track-SWIFT

 

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About the National Advertising Division: The National Advertising Division (NAD), a division of BBB National Programs, provides independent self-regulation and dispute resolution services, guiding the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for advertising truth and accuracy, delivering meaningful protection to consumers and leveling the playing field for business.     

About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumer trust and consumers are heard. This independent, non-profit organization enhances trust, innovation, and competition in the marketplace through the development and delivery of cost-effective, third-party self-regulation, dispute resolution, and accountability programs. BBB National Programs’ 10 leading industry self-regulation and dispute resolution programs resolve business issues of national and international importance, and fosters industry best practices in truth-in-advertising, child-directed marketing, data privacy, and dispute resolution. To learn more about industry self-regulation, visit bbbprograms.org. 

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