Advertising Initiatives

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. 

 

 

 

Advertising Guidance


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.

 

 

 

 

 

Thought Leadership 

Blog

Understanding Dark Patterns: How To Stay Out Of The Gray Areas

Where is the line between ethical, persuasive design and dark patterns? Businesses should engage in conversations with IT, compliance, risk, and legal teams to review their privacy policy, and include in the discussion the customer/user experience designers and coders responsible for the company’s user interface, as well as the marketers and advertisers responsible for sign-ups, checkout baskets, pricing, and promotions. Any or all these teams can play a role in creating or avoiding “digital deception.”
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Blog

Flexible, Adaptable, Yet Firm in its Foundation: 50 Years of Advertising Industry Self-Regulation

This week we celebrate the 50th anniversary of independent self-regulation in advertising. On May 18, 1971, the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) and its investigative arm, the National Advertising Division (NAD) were announced. By the end of summer that year, NAD was staffed and began receiving complaints and reviewing national advertising for truth and transparency.
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Blog

The Critical Components for Self-Regulation in Direct Selling

Direct selling – when done correctly – can benefit distributors and consumers. Unfortunately, it only takes a few bad actors to compromise the integrity of an entire industry. The direct selling industry faces difficult and important challenges in enhancing consumer and regulatory confidence in the marketing of its products and services. Successful and effective self-regulation has often been described as a marathon and not a sprint and, as such, requires ongoing commitment and participation from the industry.
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Blog

Truth-in-Advertising: Who Makes the Rules?

It is a common misunderstanding that the National Advertising Division (NAD) creates or establishes standards for the U.S. advertising industry. NAD does not make the rules, but instead serves as one arm of the U.S. system of independent advertising self-regulation to hold companies to established standards for claim substantiation. Substantiation standards may be set by laws, guidance documents, or industry organizations. This post outlines how NAD looks to those different sources for guidance when reviewing advertising claims.
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Podcast

Ad Watchers: What’s the Recipe for a Proper Advertising Disclosure?

While it may seem like a niche issue to some, disclosures are something every advertising lawyer needs to know about. On this episode of Ad Watchers, hosts Hal Hodes and La Toya Sutton break down the ‘Four Ps’ that advertisers must keep in mind when it comes to disclosures: prominence, presentation, placement, and proximity. Tune in to learn more about the ingredients you need...
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Podcast

Ad Watchers: What Does it Mean to Have a “Reasonable Basis” Standard?

Advertisers are required to have a “reasonable basis” for their advertising claims, but what is “reasonable” in terms of support and the level and type of evidence needed? In this episode of the Ad Watchers, hosts Hal Hodes and La Toya Sutton break down the standard that helps us determine what is reasonable: the Pfizer Factors. Tune in to learn more about each of...
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Podcast

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...

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Podcast

Ad Watchers: So, Who’s Making These Advertising Rules?

National Advertising Division (NAD) attorneys Hal Hodes and La Toya Sutton break down the guiding principle behind all NAD decisions: consumer understanding. Hal and La Toya discuss what it means to step into the shoes of the consumer and break down all the factors that NAD takes into consideration during an advertising review that regulators (e.g., the FTC or FDA) may not.  
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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

Decision

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...

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Decision

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...

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Decision

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...

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Decision

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...

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Latest Announcements

Press Release

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...

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Decision Press Release

CapRate Events, LLC Violates National Advertising Division Procedures with Public Mischaracterization of France Media, Inc. Case Decision

New York, NY – October 28, 2020 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) today determined that CapRate Events, LLC violated Section I2(b) of the Procedures for the U.S. advertising industry’s process of self-regulation by mischaracterizing NAD’s decision regarding advertising for its competitor, commercial...
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Press Release

BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division Launches NAD Complex Track, a Custom Challenge Process for Complex Advertising Claims

 The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs today launched its NAD Complex Track advertising challenge process, a new...
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Press Release

CRN and NAD Continue Commitment to Self-Regulatory Efforts for Dietary Supplement Advertising as the CRN/NAD Program Ends

The Council for Responsible Nutrition Foundation (CRNF) and the BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division (NAD) announced today that the CRN/NAD program will conclude on July 1, 2020. Launched in 2006, the CRN/NAD program has served as...
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Events

CARU 2021 Annual Conference

The CARU 2021 Virtual Conference, hosted by BBB National Programs’ Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), convenes child-directed advertising and children’s privacy experts to help you learn how t ...
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Jun 08, 2021 Virtual

Direct Selling Summit: Increasing Consumer Trust

In the midst of a dynamic year in the direct selling industry, business leaders, advertising experts, and salesforce members will convene at the Direct Selling Summit to discuss the biggest advertisin ...
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Jul 27, 2021 Virtual

NAD 2021 Annual Conference

Save the date for NAD 2021 to celebrate 50 years of advertising industry self-regulation and high standards of truth and accuracy in national advertising. Industry, government, agency, and legal profe ...
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Sep 29, 2021 Hybrid