BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division Launches NAD Fast-Track SWIFT, an Expedited Challenge Process for Certain Digital Advertising Claims

For Immediate Release
Contact: Jim Boyle, BBB National Programs
571.213.3979 | press@bbbnp.org

Amid Wave of COVID-19-Related Disruptions in US Justice System, Concurrent with Sharp Rise in Internet Use, Streamlined Digital Mechanism Enables Quick Resolution of Claims

New York, NY — April 2, 2020 — With state and federal courts across the country suspending trials and other legal proceedings to help contain the coronavirus pandemic, BBB National Programs, Inc.’s National Advertising Division (NAD) today launched its NAD Fast-Track SWIFT (Single Well-defined Issue Fast Track) challenge process.

This timely new resource for the industry addresses the need for quick resolution of truth and transparency issues that arise in digital advertising. The timeline from an advertiser’s initiation of a Fast-Track SWIFT challenge to NAD’s decision will be only 20 business days. NAD is now accepting three types of claims for consideration in the streamlined 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.

 

“From Maine to Hawaii, federal and state courts have temporarily or indefinitely suspended new trials for civil cases, an understandable step during this time of great uncertainty for in-person gatherings,” said Eric D. Reicin, President and CEO, BBB National Programs. “Meanwhile, the stakes for the expanding digital world get ever higher, and we recognize that advertising self-regulation needs to adapt to the speed at which claims come and go in the marketplace. With NAD Fast-Track SWIFT, all challenges and supporting materials will be submitted online, and all NAD meetings will take place via videoconference.”

“NAD’s creation of the Fast-Track SWIFT process is another step in addressing a gap in self-regulation,” said Laura Brett, Vice President, BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division. “Our new Fast-Track SWIFT challenge process, created in response to stakeholders who wanted a faster way to resolve single-issue cases, will now address those claims that rest on simple advertising principles and have uncomplicated evidence.”

The NAD Fast-Track SWIFT challenge process differs from NAD’s standard track cases in several key respects. Notably, challenges are limited to a single issue, only one substantive submission per party is permitted (and must not exceed five pages and five exhibits), all submissions are made online, and meetings with NAD are held at NAD’s discretion. To learn more about the process and how to file a Fast-Track SWIFT challenge, please visit BBBprograms.org/NAD-Fast-Track-SWIFT.

NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is a division of BBB National Programs’ self-regulatory and dispute resolution programs. Since 1971, NAD has led the advertising industry’s efforts to promote truthful and transparent advertising, protecting consumers and promoting fair competition.

Today, NAD remains an independent and impartial forum for reviewing advertising, devoid of any economic self-interest in the outcome of an advertising review proceeding. NAD reviews approximately 150 cases per year and achieves a 90-95% voluntary compliance rate with its decisions.

NAD reviews advertising on a broad range of issues, from complex health-related claims for vulnerable populations, to claims about which cereal stays crunchy in milk longer, to whether major telecommunications companies are providing nationwide 5G. Digital advertising, including influencer marketing, product reviews, native advertising and the issues surrounding the use of endorsements and testimonials, have increasingly been a focus of cases before NAD.

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About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs is a non-profit that fosters trust, innovation, and competition in the marketplace through the development and delivery of cost-effective, third-party self-regulation, dispute resolution and other programs. BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumers’ trust and consumers are heard. BBB National Programs is the home of leading industry self-regulatory and dispute resolution programs that include the National Advertising Division (NAD), National Advertising Review Board (NARB), BBB EU Privacy Shield, BBB AUTO LINE, Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), Children’s Confection Advertising Initiative (CCAI), Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC), Digital Advertising Accountability Program (Accountability Program), and the Coalition for Better Advertising Dispute Resolution Program (CBA DRM). The programs are designed to resolve business issues and advance shared objectives by responding to marketplace concerns to create a better customer experience.

About the National Advertising Division: The National Advertising Division (NAD), a division of BBB National Programs, provides independent self-regulation overseeing the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for truth and accuracy.

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