NARB Recommends SmileDirectClub Discontinue Claims That Clear Aligners Deliver Results “3x Faster Than Braces” and “3x Sooner Than Braces”
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New York, NY – October 5, 2020 – A panel of the National Advertising Review Board (NARB), a division of BBB National Programs, has recommended that SmileDirectClub, LLC (SDC) discontinue the claims “We’re 3x Faster than Braces” and “Get a smile you’ll love, 3x sooner than braces.”
The advertising at issue, as well as other claims, had been challenged by the American Association of Orthodontists before the National Advertising Division (NAD). Following NAD’s decision (Case No. 6382), SDC appealed NAD’s findings regarding the 3x claims.
SDC maintained that it had withdrawn the challenged “We’re 3x Faster than Braces” claim prior to the NAD proceeding and that the claim was replaced by the claim “Get a smile you’ll love, 3x sooner than braces.” Although SDC argued that the current claim has a different meaning, the NAD found, and the NARB panel agreed, that the two versions of the 3x claim convey the same comparative message to consumers.
The NARB panel concluded that the 3x claims are unsupported and should be discontinued. The panel did not accept that the computer-based analysis conducted at the initiation of the advertiser’s aligner therapy was a sufficient basis for determining the typical length of times under the SDC program to reach a satisfactory result. Further, the panel did not accept that the advertiser has reliable data for the duration of braces therapy.
SmileDirectClub stated that it will comply with the NARB’s decision. However, SDC noted that it believes it “was not given a fair opportunity to address the NAD’s concerns regarding substantiation for the relevant claim” and that it may petition to reopen the underlying NAD case based on additional evidence, including data and information on its internal treatment times, as well as the results of a new independent research study regarding treatment times for braces.
About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumer trust and consumers are heard. The non-profit organization creates a fairer playing field for businesses and a better experience for consumers through the development and delivery of effective third-party accountability and dispute resolution programs. Embracing its role as an independent organization since the restructuring of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in June 2019, BBB National Programs today oversees more than a dozen leading national industry self-regulation programs, and continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-directed marketing, and privacy. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.
About the National Advertising Review Board (NARB): The National Advertising Review Board (NARB) is the appellate body for BBB National Programs’ advertising self-regulatory programs. NARB’s panel members include 87 distinguished volunteer professionals from the national advertising industry, agencies, and public members, such as academics and former members of the public sector. NARB serves as a layer of independent industry peer review that helps engender trust and compliance in NAD, CARU, and DSSRC matters.
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