Promoting truthful, transparent, responsible advertising through self-regulation, monitoring, and enforcement
On this it is easy to agree: businesses that advertise and market their products and services need to commit to truthful and responsible advertising, allowing consumers to make informed choices and companies to build and nurture valuable consumer relationships. Since the creation of the National Advertising Division in 1971, the advertising industry has supported high standards for truth and transparency through a comprehensive system of independent industry self-regulation programs.
Our advertising programs uphold standards for truthful and responsible advertising and responsible targeted advertising data collection practices through:
- independent monitoring;
- competitor challenges; and
- corporate commitments to voluntary standards.
As the advertising landscape continues to evolve, we adapt our programs to the challenges posed by new products, new industries, and new advertising technology.
To learn more about our work—and to join in the effort—please check out the programs, initiatives, and resources below.
How it Started
The U.S. comprehensive system of advertising industry self-regulation began with the National Advertising Division’s (NAD) monitoring of national advertising, across all media, to enforce high standards of truth and accuracy with the support of its appellate body, the National Advertising Review Board (NARB). These high standards and the efficient resolution of disputes in the marketplace between competitors builds consumer trust and supports fair competition.
The Children’s Space
Recognizing the need for special protections for children, BBB National Programs has several advertising programs that focus on this unique audience. The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) works with companies to ensure that advertising to children is not misleading or inappropriate and that data collection practices are responsible. The Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) and Children’s Confection Advertising Initiative (CCAI) set strict nutrition and media standards for child-directed food advertising by program participants.
Expanding Across Industries
In 2019, the direct selling industry recognized a need for proactive monitoring of product and income representation claims, especially on social media platforms. The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) was established to proactively monitor the marketplace and enforce program standards to promote truth and transparency in the growing direct-selling industry.
Understanding Dark Patterns: How To Stay Out Of The Gray Areas
Flexible, Adaptable, Yet Firm in its Foundation: 50 Years of Advertising Industry Self-Regulation
The Critical Components for Self-Regulation in Direct Selling
Truth-in-Advertising: Who Makes the Rules?
Ad Watchers: What’s the Recipe for a Proper Advertising Disclosure?
Ad Watchers: What Does it Mean to Have a “Reasonable Basis” Standard?
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
In the inaugural episode of The Accountability Studio, moderator Mary Engle, Executive Vice President, Policy poses a fundamental question to the leadership of BBB National Programs: Does independent, industry self-regulation really work? Program leaders responded with an emphatic ‘yes,’ but also laid out the numerous factors that can contribute to the success or failure of a self-regulatory...
Ad Watchers: So, Who’s Making These Advertising Rules?
Truth in Advertising: The Basics
Many people believe that because the National Advertising Division (NAD) monitors national advertising to ensure companies are being truthful and transparent in their claims and advertising practices, that they also made the rules they are enforcing. That's not the case. NAD follows the guidance of applicable laws, regulatory guidance, and industry standards. When gaps in guidance exist, especially in emerging industries, NAD fills those gaps by assessing whether advertisers comply with one basic broad and overarching substantiation standard: that advertising must be supported by a reasonable basis.
Advertisers are required to have a “reasonable basis” for their advertising claims, which means before they can make an express or implied claim in an advertisement they must be able to support the claim with evidence. Different types of claims require different types of evidence to support them. This video breaks down what is "reasonable."
While it may seem like a niche issue to some, disclosures are something every advertising lawyer needs to know about. Learn about the ‘Four Ps’ that advertisers must keep in mind when it comes to disclosures: prominence, presentation, placement, and proximity.
Recent Case Decisions
DSSRC Recommends Direct Selling Company Aihu Discontinue Certain Health-Related Product Performance Claims
McLean, VA – June 10, 2021 – The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) opened an inquiry into several health-related product performance claims made on the company website and on social media by Aihu, Inc, a direct selling company that sells biodegradable, organic essential oil skincare products, and its salesforce...
National Advertising Division Finds Certain Claims for Crest Whitening Emulsions Supported; Recommends Discontinuation or Modification of Others
New York, NY – June 8, 2021 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) determined that The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) provided a reasonable basis for claims that its Crest Whitening Emulsions provide “better” or “100% whiter” results and that it “whitens better” than P&G’s own...
Children’s Advertising Review Unit Recommends IMC Toys Include “Non-Edible” Disclosure in Cry Babies Magic Tears Tutti Frutti Doll Advertisement
New York, NY – May 27, 2021 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) recommended that IMC Toys USA Inc. modify its television advertisement promoting the Cry Babies Magic Tears Tutti Frutti doll to include a clear and conspicuous disclosure that children should not consume the jell-like...
Claims Comparing TVision Live Service to Cable TV Discontinued Due to T-Mobile’s Termination of the Service During National Advertising Division Challenge
New York, NY – May 25, 2021 – T-Mobile USA, Inc. informed the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs that it has permanently discontinued challenged claims made in connection with its TVision Live service, including that TVision Live is half the price of cable...
BBB National Programs Adds FTC Veteran Mamie Kresses as Vice President, Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU)
McLean, VA – April 12, 2021 – BBB National Programs, the independent non-profit organization that oversees more than a dozen industry self-regulation and dispute resolution programs, today announced the hire of FTC veteran Mamie Kresses as Vice President, Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU). Kresses moves from the...
CapRate Events, LLC Violates National Advertising Division Procedures with Public Mischaracterization of France Media, Inc. Case Decision
BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division Launches NAD Complex Track, a Custom Challenge Process for Complex Advertising Claims
CRN and NAD Continue Commitment to Self-Regulatory Efforts for Dietary Supplement Advertising as the CRN/NAD Program Ends
National Advertising Division FAQs
National Advertising Review Board FAQs
CARU Pre-Screening Services
CFBAI Uniform Nutrition Criteria
How to use Fast-Track SWIFT for Single-Issue Ad Claims
NAD Fast-Track SWIFT: The Process
NAD Standard Track SWIFT: The Process
NAD Complex Track: The Process
2020 COVID-19 False Advertising Cases
CARU 2021 Annual Conference
Direct Selling Summit: Increasing Consumer Trust
NAD 2021 Annual Conference