Vitamin Bounty Voluntarily Discontinues Social Media Posts for Elderberry Immune Support Following NAD Inquiry into Implied COVID-19 Messages
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New York, NY – October 13, 2020 – Following an inquiry by the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs, Vitamin Bounty/Matherson Organics, LLC (“Vitamin Bounty”) discontinued Instagram and Facebook social media posts for its Vitamin Bounty Elderberry Immune Support, which conveyed implied messages about boosting immunity to protect users against, or treat, COVID-19.
Through its routine monitoring program, NAD challenged Vitamin Bounty’s Instagram post for Elderberry Immune Support with the text:
- “[a]s restrictions are gradually lifting, it’s more important than ever to keep your immune system strong. Our Elderberry Immune Support keeps you protected with vitamin C, zinc, elderberries, garlic and echinacea; a powerful immune-boosting combo.”
Health and safety concerns are a top priority for NAD’s monitoring efforts, with particular attention currently focused on advertising for dietary supplements and other products claiming to treat COVID-19. NAD noted that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have both stated that there are no approved vaccines, drugs, or investigational products currently available to treat or prevent COVID-19. Both the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have issued dozens of warning letters to companies making claims about their products’ ability to treat or prevent COVID-19.
NAD initially referred this case to the FDA and FTC for review because the advertiser did not respond to NAD’s request to provide substantiation for its claims. However, following this referral, Vitamin Bounty subsequently returned to NAD and agreed to participate in the advertising self-regulatory forum.
In its response to NAD, the advertiser voluntarily discontinued the social media post in question, as well as additional social media posts on Facebook, which made similar implied claims about the ability of Vitamin Bounty Elderberry Immune Support to boost immunity to treat COVID-19.
NAD appreciates that advertiser’s permanent discontinuance of the challenged advertisements and its commitment to avoid making any express or implied claims that promote its product’s ability to protect consumers against COVID-19.
In its advertiser’s statement, Vitamin Bounty stated that it “accepts NAD’s decision in its entirety and has discontinued the advertising in question.”
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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