CFBAI_ProgramBackgrounds_4-28-2020

National Advertising Division

The National Advertising Division (NAD) monitors national advertising in all media, enforces high standards of truth and accuracy, and efficiently resolves disputes to build consumer trust and support fair competition. NAD reviews advertising based on challenges from businesses, complaints from consumers, or on its own initiative covering a wide variety of both industries and issues. NAD’s decisions represent the single largest body of advertising decisions in the United States.

Program Impact

NAD was established in 1971 to monitor and evaluate the truth and transparency of national advertising through a combination of independent monitoring and competitor disputes and has become a leading voice in providing guidance on truthful and transparent advertising and standards for substantiating advertising claims. Around 150 cases are handled each year through one of three tracks: Fast-Track SWIFT, Standard Track, and Complex Track. Reports of all case findings can be found in the BBB National Programs Online Archive

 

 

Truth & Transparency

Voluntary self-regulation helps create an honest and fair marketplace. Companies benefit from a level playing field and consumers benefit from a more trustworthy marketplace. A 90% participation rate demonstrates the depth of industry’s commitment to self-regulation and truth and transparency.

Issues We Examine

NAD’s legal team specializes in examining advertising claims for a diverse set of goods and services like telecommunications, infant nutrition, over-the-counter medication, and dietary supplements for a wide variety of issues from product efficacy to influencer marketing and the use of consumer reviews.

Time & Cost

The NAD process resolves advertising disputes efficiently and almost always faster than a court proceeding. There is no document discovery or depositions, no counterclaims, and the process requires less investment in time and cost than litigating a case.

Navigating Uncertainty

NAD has a published body of case precedent and is staffed by decision makers dedicated to resolving advertising disputes, using a process that provides advertisers the right to appeal adverse decisions to the National Advertising Review Board (NARB).
 

For the last 50 years in the advertising industry, companies have held each other to a higher standard. In response to the pressures and criticisms of consumerism that had mounted during the previous decade, in 1971 the advertising industry established the National Advertising Division (NAD) and National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the U.S. mechanism of independent self-regulation that has stood the test of time and technological innovation.

 

Visit NAD50th.org

NAD Challenges

 

NAD offers three options for submitting challenges for review: Standard Track, Complex Track, and Fast-Track SWIFT. Click on the options below for more information on each track's process, challenge eligibility requirements, timeline, and fees to determine which track is best suited to handle your needs. BBB National Programs National Partners receive a discount on filing fees. 

 

 

Fast-Track SWIFT

Single-issue digital advertising cases with decisions in 20 business days. Learn More

Standard Track

Open to a variety of case types with decisions in four to six months. Learn More

Complex Track

Cases requiring complex substantiation. Time to decision is determined by the parties. Learn More

 

 

 

Why Use NAD for Advertising Challenges

When a competitor’s advertising harms consumer trust or threatens a company’s reputation and market share, decision makers need to answer three key questions:

  • Which forum will resolve my challenge most efficiently—federal court, Federal Trade Commission complaint, or NAD challenge?

The NAD process promotes truthful advertising resolving advertising disputes efficiently. Unless advertising is so misleading and causing sufficient harm that a temporary restraining order application will likely succeed, the NAD process is typically faster than a court proceeding.

 

 

  • How much will it cost?

 

Filing a challenge with NAD is almost always more cost effective than other options. There is no document discovery. There is no deposition. The matter cannot be delayed by filing counterclaims. Our streamlined process saves time and money.

 

 

  • What are the risks?

Because NAD has a published body of case precedent and is staffed by decision makers dedicated to resolving advertising disputes, the outcome is more predictable than a court proceeding where individual judges have crowded dockets of a wide array of cases and different decision-making styles. Our procedures provide advertisers with an automatic right to appeal adverse decisions to the self-regulatory system’s peer review body, the National Advertising Review Board.

 

 

 

 

 

NAD’s Monitoring Program

As part of its public interest mission to ensure consumers receive truthful and accurate advertising messages, NAD initiates approximately 20-25% of its cases each year based on its own monitoring of advertising in a wide variety of product categories. The goal of NAD’s monitoring cases is to expand the universe of advertising claims that are reviewed for truth and transparency and provide guidance for future advertising. In determining whether to open a monitoring case, NAD considers whether the advertising meets one or more of the following criteria:

 

  • Targets a vulnerable population (elderly, children, special needs, etc.);
  • Capitalizes on consumer fears or misunderstanding;
  • Fills a gap in regulatory efforts of the FTC and state AGs;
  • Addresses novel or emerging issue of interest for the advertising industry;
  • Concerns claims that consumers cannot evaluate for themselves;
  • Achieves diversity among industries that historically participate in self-regulation.

 

 

 

 

Policies & Procedures


Any company, consumer, or non-governmental organization can file a challenge with NAD. We handle about 150 cases each year and our decisions represent the single largest body of advertising decisions in the United States. The NAD | NARB Policies and Procedures describe the details and parameters of NAD's challenge review process.

News & Blog

 

Following NAD Inquiry, P&G Modifies Material Connection Disclosures in Influencer TikTok Videos to Ensure They Appear on Other Platforms When Shared

For Immediate Release 
Contact: Abby Hills, Director of Communications, BBB National Programs 

703.247.9330 / press@bbbnp.org 

New York, NY – September 10, 2020 – Following an inquiry by the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs, The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) took steps to ensure that its influencers, who promote its Bounty Paper towels in a series of catchy TikTok videos, embed material connection disclosures in the videos to ensure that clear and conspicuous disclosure appears on any platform where they are shared.   

The videos featured a “dance challenge” in which the influencers break out into a dance while the high-pitched voiceover sings about how it’s time to “clean up your life.” Bounty paper towels appeared in the background and all of the TikTok videos clearly and conspicuously include the hashtag #BountyPartner disclosing the material connection between the influencer and P&G in accordance with FTC guidelines.   

However, when those videos were shared to Instagram, they did not include the #BountyPartner hashtag indicating the paid partnership between P&G and the influencer (but the disclosure did appear when the videos were shared to other platforms - e.g., Facebook). NAD was concerned that consumers seeing the TikTok videos in question on Instagram would not understand that these were paid advertisements.  

P&G was apprised of this issue prior to the challenge and immediately began requiring that influencers embed disclosures in their videos so that disclosures would transfer along with the videos when shared across platforms, and provided examples of such videos. P&G also undertook an internal audit on all associated Bounty content for this campaign and will ensure that all new Bounty TikTok content has embedded disclosures. However, existing TikTok posts could not be edited and reposted due to TikTok’s terms and influencers’ contractual limitations.   

In its advertiser’s statement, P&G stated that it was “pleased that NAD agrees that P&G’s efforts to disclose its material connection with influencers was deemed sufficient” and “values the self-regulatory forum provided by NAD and appreciates the professionalism and commitment shown by NAD in the resolution of this matter.”  

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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.     

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.”
Read more
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.
Read more
 

 

 

Decisions

Following NAD Inquiry, P&G Modifies Material Connection Disclosures in Influencer TikTok Videos to Ensure They Appear on Other Platforms When Shared

For Immediate Release 
Contact: Abby Hills, Director of Communications, BBB National Programs 

703.247.9330 / press@bbbnp.org 

New York, NY – September 10, 2020 – Following an inquiry by the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs, The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) took steps to ensure that its influencers, who promote its Bounty Paper towels in a series of catchy TikTok videos, embed material connection disclosures in the videos to ensure that clear and conspicuous disclosure appears on any platform where they are shared.   

The videos featured a “dance challenge” in which the influencers break out into a dance while the high-pitched voiceover sings about how it’s time to “clean up your life.” Bounty paper towels appeared in the background and all of the TikTok videos clearly and conspicuously include the hashtag #BountyPartner disclosing the material connection between the influencer and P&G in accordance with FTC guidelines.   

However, when those videos were shared to Instagram, they did not include the #BountyPartner hashtag indicating the paid partnership between P&G and the influencer (but the disclosure did appear when the videos were shared to other platforms - e.g., Facebook). NAD was concerned that consumers seeing the TikTok videos in question on Instagram would not understand that these were paid advertisements.  

P&G was apprised of this issue prior to the challenge and immediately began requiring that influencers embed disclosures in their videos so that disclosures would transfer along with the videos when shared across platforms, and provided examples of such videos. P&G also undertook an internal audit on all associated Bounty content for this campaign and will ensure that all new Bounty TikTok content has embedded disclosures. However, existing TikTok posts could not be edited and reposted due to TikTok’s terms and influencers’ contractual limitations.   

In its advertiser’s statement, P&G stated that it was “pleased that NAD agrees that P&G’s efforts to disclose its material connection with influencers was deemed sufficient” and “values the self-regulatory forum provided by NAD and appreciates the professionalism and commitment shown by NAD in the resolution of this matter.”  

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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.     

 

 

 

Upcoming Events

Baker Hostetler's Everywhere Commerce: Top Strategies for Mitigating Risk

BBB National Programs' Speakers: Dona Fraser, Senior Vice President, Privacy Initiatives, Mary Engle, Executive Vice President, Policy, and Katherine Armstrong, Deputy Director, National Advertising D ...
Learn more
Jun 16, 2021 Virtual

IFSCC's The Skin Virome: recent science and product claims in the COVID-19 era

BBB National Programs' Speakers: Peter Marinello, Vice President, Direct Selling Self Regulatory Council, Annie Urgurlayan, Assistant Director, National Advertising Division, and Howard Smith, Attorne ...
Learn more
Jun 16, 2021 Virtual

PLI Hot Topics in Advertising Law

BBB National Programs' Speaker: Hal Hodes, Senior Attorney, National Advertising Division
Learn more
Jun 21, 2021 Virtual

Annual Ad Law Summit: “Social Purpose Advertising”

BBB National Programs' Speaker: La Toya Sutton, Attorney, National Advertising Division
Learn more
Jun 24, 2021 Virtual
 

 

 

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