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).

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

 

BBB National Programs Partners with Facebook to Strengthen Truth-in-Advertising Enforcement on the Social Network's U.S. Platform

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

703-247-9330 / press@bbbnp.org

New York, NY – December 2, 2020 – Taking an important step to advance the effectiveness of its quick and efficient self-regulatory programs, BBB National Programs today announced a new National Advertising Division partnership with Facebook.

Effective immediately, this partnership enables BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division to share case outcomes addressing Facebook advertising directly with Facebook, allowing Facebook enforcement teams to then act on those ads that violate their policies. This partnership leverages Facebook’s commitment to take action when ads violate their truth-in-advertising rules to reinforce the National Advertising Division’s role as the centerpiece of the advertising industry’s efforts to increase public trust in advertising. The result will be to encourage ethical practices among advertisers and a stronger, more robust system of self-regulation. 

In announcing the partnership, Eric D. Reicin, President and CEO, BBB National Programs said: “When it comes to digital advertising, the two main issues challenging consumer trust are transparency and truth. Taking greater steps towards addressing these issues on any platform requires the pairing of our investigative resources and a commitment to enforce. This Facebook partnership with our National Advertising Division creates exactly the right combination.”

Facebook head of business integrity product management Rob Leathern said in a statement, “Facebook’s Advertising Policies, which incorporate and go further than our Community Standards, include prohibiting misleading, exaggerated, or false claims. This partnership with BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division will add a new layer of proactive detection to help us identify ads that violate those policies and take action quickly.”

BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division has been monitoring and reviewing national advertising for truthfulness and accuracy since 1971, enforcing high standards and efficiently resolving disputes to build consumer trust and support fair competition. With multiple case choice options, the National Advertising Division can get a single-issue case from receipt to resolution in less than 20 business days through its expedited Fast-Track SWIFT process. For cases that require complex substantiation, the National Advertising Division’s Complex Track process caters to the need for predictable scheduling and enhanced insights. 

Though the self-regulation process is voluntary, more than 90% of companies participate and elect to make changes to their advertising based on National Advertising Division guidance. Companies recognize that the industry self-regulatory process provides them with a means of demonstrating their own accountability and commitment to corporate social responsibility. 

Through this partnership with BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division, Facebook joins the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation, where companies take meaningful steps from words to action. 

###

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

Q&A: What is an SRO? A Beginner’s Guide to International Advertising Self-Regulation

Advertising is a cutting-edge industry, so it is no surprise that the ad business has been at the forefront of a global trend building for almost 60 years – independent industry self-regulation. In the U.S., the National Advertising Division is the industry’s widely recognized “truth-in-advertising” body, an independent third party that enables competitors to resolve disputes outside the courtroom. It is the self-regulatory organization (SRO) of the U.S. In this Q&A with Mary Engle, Executive Vice President, Policy, here at BBB National Programs, we dig into what industry self-regulation looks like in other parts of the world.
Read more
Blog

Substantiating Advertising Claims in Three Steps: A How-To Checklist for Advertisers

Substantiating advertising claims is important, both to comply with the law and to avoid regulatory scrutiny or a potential challenge from a competitor in court or in a proceeding before the National Advertising Division (NAD). NAD examines the fit between challenged claims and the substantiation provided. What follows is not legal advice but a basic one-two-three checklist for advertisers concerned about substantiating their advertising claims.
Read more
 

 

 

Decisions

BBB National Programs Partners with Facebook to Strengthen Truth-in-Advertising Enforcement on the Social Network's U.S. Platform

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

703-247-9330 / press@bbbnp.org

New York, NY – December 2, 2020 – Taking an important step to advance the effectiveness of its quick and efficient self-regulatory programs, BBB National Programs today announced a new National Advertising Division partnership with Facebook.

Effective immediately, this partnership enables BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division to share case outcomes addressing Facebook advertising directly with Facebook, allowing Facebook enforcement teams to then act on those ads that violate their policies. This partnership leverages Facebook’s commitment to take action when ads violate their truth-in-advertising rules to reinforce the National Advertising Division’s role as the centerpiece of the advertising industry’s efforts to increase public trust in advertising. The result will be to encourage ethical practices among advertisers and a stronger, more robust system of self-regulation. 

In announcing the partnership, Eric D. Reicin, President and CEO, BBB National Programs said: “When it comes to digital advertising, the two main issues challenging consumer trust are transparency and truth. Taking greater steps towards addressing these issues on any platform requires the pairing of our investigative resources and a commitment to enforce. This Facebook partnership with our National Advertising Division creates exactly the right combination.”

Facebook head of business integrity product management Rob Leathern said in a statement, “Facebook’s Advertising Policies, which incorporate and go further than our Community Standards, include prohibiting misleading, exaggerated, or false claims. This partnership with BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division will add a new layer of proactive detection to help us identify ads that violate those policies and take action quickly.”

BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division has been monitoring and reviewing national advertising for truthfulness and accuracy since 1971, enforcing high standards and efficiently resolving disputes to build consumer trust and support fair competition. With multiple case choice options, the National Advertising Division can get a single-issue case from receipt to resolution in less than 20 business days through its expedited Fast-Track SWIFT process. For cases that require complex substantiation, the National Advertising Division’s Complex Track process caters to the need for predictable scheduling and enhanced insights. 

Though the self-regulation process is voluntary, more than 90% of companies participate and elect to make changes to their advertising based on National Advertising Division guidance. Companies recognize that the industry self-regulatory process provides them with a means of demonstrating their own accountability and commitment to corporate social responsibility. 

Through this partnership with BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division, Facebook joins the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation, where companies take meaningful steps from words to action. 

###

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

Institute for Perception, Advertising Claims Support: Case Histories & Principles

BBB National Programs Speakers: Senior Staff Attorney Kat Dunnigan, Staff Attorney La Toya Sutton, and Staff Attorney Eric Unis, National Advertising Division
Learn more
Apr 20, 2021 Virtual

Consumer Protection Priorities in the Biden Administration

BBB National Programs Speakers: Laura Brett, Vice President, National Advertising Division and Dona Fraser, Senior Vice President, Privacy Initiatives
Learn more
Apr 26, 2021 Virtual

Bringing Dark Patterns to Light: An FTC Workshop

BBB National Programs Speaker: Laura Brett, Vice President, National Advertising Division
Learn more
Apr 29, 2021 Virtual

Personal Care Products’ Council Virtual Summit

BBB National Programs Speaker: Eric Unis, Attorney, National Advertising Division
Learn more
May 11, 2021 Virtual
 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

 

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