Three NAD Fast-Track SWIFT Cases Resolved; One Claim Supported, One Recommendation to Discontinue Claim, One Claim Voluntarily Discontinued
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New York, NY – March 17, 2021 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs announced the resolution of three new Fast-Track SWIFT cases:
- T-Mobile challenged Verizon’s depiction of a 5G coverage map
- Prose challenged Function’s “over 110,000 5-star product reviews” claim
- Lidl challenged certain Aldi comparative pricing claims
Fast-Track SWIFT is an expedited process designed for single-issue advertising cases.
T-Mobile US, Inc. v. Verizon Wireless
T-Mobile challenged coverage maps representing Verizon Wireless’ buildout of 5G coverage across the United States. NAD determined that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis to support the express coverage messages in the challenged video.
The video coverage map was appropriate for the NAD Fast-Track SWIFT process because the challenged video contained multiple express statements – visually, in voiceover, on-screen text, and disclosures – regarding Verizon’s wireless service coverage. Determining whether the express coverage messages were supported was a single issue that would not require review of complex evidence or legal argument. Other challenged static coverage maps contained no express explanation (or legend) and as a result, NAD concluded that the static map required review of implied messages, and implied messages are not currently being reviewed in SWIFT.
NAD limited its review to only the video coverage map. With respect to the video, NAD determined that reasonable consumers would view the video in context, which explains Verizon’s 5G incremental buildout, layered on its existing, prior generation network. Verizon’s video with rising red blocks, voiceover, and on-screen text explaining how Verizon layered its 5G Nationwide and 5G Ultra Wideband onto its existing network serves the function of a legend and expressly explains the differences in coverage of Verizon’s existing and 5G Nationwide networks.
In its advertiser statement, Verizon stated that it “is pleased NAD found that the message in the videos was supported.”
PerSé Beauty Inc. d/b/a Prose v. Function Inc.
Prose brought a challenge to Function’s claim that it had “over 110,000 5-star product reviews!” for its Function of Beauty customizable hair care products. NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the challenged claim or modify it to tout the number of 5-star reviews it can reliably support.
The “110,000 5-star product reviews” claim was appropriate for Fast-Track SWIFT because the issue was limited to whether the advertiser provided a reasonable basis for the claim when it counted reviews in the combined “shampoo and conditioner” category as two separate product reviews, one for shampoo and one for conditioner.
NAD determined that at least one reasonable interpretation of the claim “over 110,000 5-star product reviews!” is the express message that consumers have submitted 110,000 distinct reviews. Nothing in the context of the claim, or the claim itself alerts consumers that its count of 5-star reviews is based on counting a single review of shampoo and conditioner as two product reviews. Nor did the advertiser provide a reasonable basis to support the claim that it has over 110,000 product reviews for “shampoo and conditioner” because reviewers had no mechanism to rate the products separately.
In its advertiser’s statement, Function stated that while it “disagrees with NAD’s determination that [it] lacked a reasonable basis for its claim, we welcome NAD’s guidance in this area.”
Lidl US, LLC v. Aldi, Inc.
Lidl brought a challenge against certain Aldi comparative pricing claims. During the challenge, for business purposes, Aldi agreed to permanently discontinue the challenged comparative pricing claims:
- “The Lowest Prices Everyday”
- “Lowest Possible Prices on Groceries”
- “It’s Official. We Have the Lowest Prices on Long Island”
- “ALDI has the Lowest Prices on Long Island”
NAD is now accepting 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.
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 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.
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