NAD Finds France Media’s Readership Claims Supported; Recommends Modification of “Largest Commercial Real Estate Publisher” Claim
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New York, NY – October 22, 2020 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs determined that France Media Inc. (FMI) provided a reasonable basis for claims for its Commercial Real Estate Publishing Platform that:
- FMI’s readership is “more than 322,000 industry professionals”; and
- FMI “offers more exposure and visibility for your company’s name/logo than any other conference series in commercial real estate.”
However, NAD recommended that FMI modify its claims that it is the “largest commercial real estate publisher in the United States” to more accurately reflect the evidence that it is the largest commercial real estate publisher of print and digital magazines.
The claims at issue, which appeared in website, social media advertisements, and in media kits, were challenged by CapRate Events, LLC, a competing commercial real estate publishing platform.
FMI is a business-to-business media company that publishes and produces magazines and e-newsletters focused on the commercial real estate market. Additionally, through a division of FMI known as InterFace Conference Group, FMI organizes and holds conferences and webinars for professionals in the real estate industry.
CapRate challenged FMI’s claims that it is “the largest commercial real estate publisher in the United States,” “the largest commercial real estate publishing company,” and “the largest CRE publisher.” NAD determined that, in the context of the challenged advertising, these claims do not constitute puffery, but are objectively provable. NAD reviewed the advertiser’s evidence in support of its claims and determined that it demonstrates that FMI is larger than its four largest and closest competitors with respect to the number of print and digital publications offered. However, NAD also concluded that such evidence was not a good fit for FMI’s unqualified “largest” commercial real estate publisher claims and the messages reasonably conveyed by such a claim (i.e., that it is based on readership, reach and circulation). Therefore, NAD recommended that FMI modify its claims so that they are more narrowly tailored and more accurately reflect the evidence that FMI is the largest commercial real estate publisher of print and digital magazines.
NAD determined that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis for the claim that its readership is “more than 322,000 industry professionals.” In support of its claim, FMI relied on internal data on subscriptions, data on pass-along readers based on a survey that it conducted, and data provided by subscribers identifying the nature of their business (i.e., directly connected to the commercial real estate industry).
NAD also determined that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis for its claim that FMI “offers more exposure and visibility for your company’s name/logo than any other conference series in commercial real estate.” NAD noted that as the claim appears within the context of the challenged advertising it solely relates, and is directly linked, to the number of publications offered by FMI. FMI’s comparative analysis on the number of publications it offers to professionals showed that other conference groups offers the same level of “exposure” and “visibility” to sponsors because none publish as many products as FMI.
In its advertiser’s statement, France Media stated that it intends to comply with NAD’s decision. Further, FMI stated that it “shares NAD’s interest in ensuring that business professionals understand the measures by which France Media is accurately described as the ‘largest’ commercial real estate publisher and accepts NAD’s guidance and recommendations going forward.”
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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.
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