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 National Advertising Division Finds that Certain Cellular Health Claims for Basis Dietary Supplement are Supported

For Immediate Release

Contact: Laura Brett, Director, National Advertising Division

212.705.0109 / lbrett@bbbnp.org

New York, NY – Jan. 27, 2020 – The National Advertising Division determined that Elysium Health, Inc. had submitted evidence sufficient to reasonably demonstrate that nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (“NAD+”) plays a key role in cellular metabolism and mitochondrial health, and that NAD+ levels decrease with age.  Further, the National Advertising Division determined that the advertiser produced competent and reliable scientific evidence demonstrating that a daily serving of its Basis Dietary Supplement (“Basis”) raised whole blood NAD+ levels in people 40-60 years old, thus supporting truthful, narrowly tailored claims describing cellular metabolism and the role that nicotinamide riboside (“NR”) (a natural precursor of NAD+) and pterostilbene supplementation can play in the cellular metabolism of aging. The Basis supplement is a B3 vitamin (250 mg of NR) combined with pterostilbene (50 mg).

The National Advertising Division is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is a division of the BBB National Programs’ self-regulatory and dispute resolution programs.

As part of is routine monitoring program, the National Advertising Division opened this inquiry to review digital advertising for Basis.  The challenged claims were culled, in part, from the advertiser’s recommendation widgets, tweets, Elysium company website (often in the form of testimonials), and Facebook posts, some of which also link readers to independent articles about Elysium and Basis and draw readers’ attention to news articles that positively describe Basis, the science behind cellular metabolism, and the scientists that founded Elysium Health. The National Advertising Division noted that health-related statements about the effectiveness of a dietary supplement that Fast Company of Scientific American, for example, choose to publish in their own articles, on their own websites, are not advertising claims that must be supported by the advertiser.  However, by virtue of quoting or summarizing media articles in its tweets, widgets, Facebook page, Instagram, or company website, etc., those same statements become advertising claims made by the advertiser.  In such instances, the advertiser must possess competent and reliable scientific evidence to support the health-related statements.

During the pendency of the National Advertising Division’s inquiry, the advertiser stated in writing that it had elected to permanently discontinue making the following challenged express and implied claims (including some claims that had been discontinued years ago):

  • Taking Basis will provide a noticeable effect on consumers’ energy, cognitive function, sleep, and overall feeling of health.
  • Taking Basis is scientifically proven to counteract the natural human aging process.
  • Taking Basis provides noticeable physical health and anti-aging benefits without the need for diet and exercise.

The National Advertising Division, relying on the advertiser’s representations that these claims have been permanently discontinued, did not review the claims on their merits.  However, the voluntarily discontinued claims will be treated, for compliance purposes, as though the National Advertising Division recommended their discontinuance and the advertiser agreed to comply.

In support of the challenged claim that “the cellular level benefits of taking Basis are scientifically proven to be effective in humans,” the advertiser submitted many in vitro studies and animal studies, human trials, including bioavailability studies such as a clinical trial conducted on Basis, medical literature reviews, and expert reports.  The National Advertising Division reviewed this evidence and determined that it reasonably demonstrated that NAD+ plays a key role in cellular metabolism and mitochondrial health, and that NAD+ levels decrease with age.  Additionally, pterostilbene, another ingredient in Basis, reduces oxidative stress, an important component of cellular metabolism.  Further, the National Advertising Division determined that the advertiser provided competent and reliable scientific evidence in the form of a randomized, placebo-controlled bioavailability study of people 40-60 years old that demonstrated that a daily serving of Basis raised whole blood NAD+ levels.

The National Advertising Division noted that while the advertiser had provided many studies and articles demonstrating health and longevity benefits from NAD+ supplementation in yeast, flies, and rodents, the fact of whether supplementation in humans will have similar results is still very much a work in progress.

The National Advertising Division concluded that the advertiser had provided a record sufficient to establish (1) that the ingredients in Basis raise NAD+ levels, and (2) a scientific consensus around the role of NAD+ and sirtuins in cellular health. Therefore, the National Advertising Division stated that nothing in its decision prevents the advertiser from making truthful, narrowly tailored claims describing cellular metabolism and the role that NR and pterostilbene supplementation can play in the cellular metabolism of aging.  In doing so, the National Advertising Division recommended that the advertiser should make clear that any noticeable aging-related benefits of taking Basis or the ingredients in Basis has not been shown in humans.

In its advertiser’s statement, Elysium Health stated that agrees to comply with the National Advertising Division’s recommendations.

###

About the National Advertising Division (NAD): 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.

About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs 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. The programs were formerly administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. BBB National Programs is the home of 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. To learn more about industry self-regulation, please visit: BBBNP.org
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.
Read more
Blog

Call to Action: Improve Green Marketing and Avoid Greenwashing

Green marketing can be a strong marketing tool for companies to differentiate their sustainable approach to business and help consumers choose more sustainable products. But with the variety and volume of green marketing today, does it? Are environmental claims supported so that consumers can make choices that help the planet? While some observers call for more rigorous standards, governmental guidelines regulating environmental marketing already exist. Industry self-regulation also plays an important role in leveling the playing field on green marketing so that consumer purchases align with their environmental goals.
Read more
 

 

 

Decisions

BBB National Programs National Advertising Division Finds that Certain Cellular Health Claims for Basis Dietary Supplement are Supported

For Immediate Release

Contact: Laura Brett, Director, National Advertising Division

212.705.0109 / lbrett@bbbnp.org

New York, NY – Jan. 27, 2020 – The National Advertising Division determined that Elysium Health, Inc. had submitted evidence sufficient to reasonably demonstrate that nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (“NAD+”) plays a key role in cellular metabolism and mitochondrial health, and that NAD+ levels decrease with age.  Further, the National Advertising Division determined that the advertiser produced competent and reliable scientific evidence demonstrating that a daily serving of its Basis Dietary Supplement (“Basis”) raised whole blood NAD+ levels in people 40-60 years old, thus supporting truthful, narrowly tailored claims describing cellular metabolism and the role that nicotinamide riboside (“NR”) (a natural precursor of NAD+) and pterostilbene supplementation can play in the cellular metabolism of aging. The Basis supplement is a B3 vitamin (250 mg of NR) combined with pterostilbene (50 mg).

The National Advertising Division is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is a division of the BBB National Programs’ self-regulatory and dispute resolution programs.

As part of is routine monitoring program, the National Advertising Division opened this inquiry to review digital advertising for Basis.  The challenged claims were culled, in part, from the advertiser’s recommendation widgets, tweets, Elysium company website (often in the form of testimonials), and Facebook posts, some of which also link readers to independent articles about Elysium and Basis and draw readers’ attention to news articles that positively describe Basis, the science behind cellular metabolism, and the scientists that founded Elysium Health. The National Advertising Division noted that health-related statements about the effectiveness of a dietary supplement that Fast Company of Scientific American, for example, choose to publish in their own articles, on their own websites, are not advertising claims that must be supported by the advertiser.  However, by virtue of quoting or summarizing media articles in its tweets, widgets, Facebook page, Instagram, or company website, etc., those same statements become advertising claims made by the advertiser.  In such instances, the advertiser must possess competent and reliable scientific evidence to support the health-related statements.

During the pendency of the National Advertising Division’s inquiry, the advertiser stated in writing that it had elected to permanently discontinue making the following challenged express and implied claims (including some claims that had been discontinued years ago):

  • Taking Basis will provide a noticeable effect on consumers’ energy, cognitive function, sleep, and overall feeling of health.
  • Taking Basis is scientifically proven to counteract the natural human aging process.
  • Taking Basis provides noticeable physical health and anti-aging benefits without the need for diet and exercise.

The National Advertising Division, relying on the advertiser’s representations that these claims have been permanently discontinued, did not review the claims on their merits.  However, the voluntarily discontinued claims will be treated, for compliance purposes, as though the National Advertising Division recommended their discontinuance and the advertiser agreed to comply.

In support of the challenged claim that “the cellular level benefits of taking Basis are scientifically proven to be effective in humans,” the advertiser submitted many in vitro studies and animal studies, human trials, including bioavailability studies such as a clinical trial conducted on Basis, medical literature reviews, and expert reports.  The National Advertising Division reviewed this evidence and determined that it reasonably demonstrated that NAD+ plays a key role in cellular metabolism and mitochondrial health, and that NAD+ levels decrease with age.  Additionally, pterostilbene, another ingredient in Basis, reduces oxidative stress, an important component of cellular metabolism.  Further, the National Advertising Division determined that the advertiser provided competent and reliable scientific evidence in the form of a randomized, placebo-controlled bioavailability study of people 40-60 years old that demonstrated that a daily serving of Basis raised whole blood NAD+ levels.

The National Advertising Division noted that while the advertiser had provided many studies and articles demonstrating health and longevity benefits from NAD+ supplementation in yeast, flies, and rodents, the fact of whether supplementation in humans will have similar results is still very much a work in progress.

The National Advertising Division concluded that the advertiser had provided a record sufficient to establish (1) that the ingredients in Basis raise NAD+ levels, and (2) a scientific consensus around the role of NAD+ and sirtuins in cellular health. Therefore, the National Advertising Division stated that nothing in its decision prevents the advertiser from making truthful, narrowly tailored claims describing cellular metabolism and the role that NR and pterostilbene supplementation can play in the cellular metabolism of aging.  In doing so, the National Advertising Division recommended that the advertiser should make clear that any noticeable aging-related benefits of taking Basis or the ingredients in Basis has not been shown in humans.

In its advertiser’s statement, Elysium Health stated that agrees to comply with the National Advertising Division’s recommendations.

###

About the National Advertising Division (NAD): 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.

About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs 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. The programs were formerly administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. BBB National Programs is the home of 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. To learn more about industry self-regulation, please visit: BBBNP.org
 

 

 

Upcoming Events

IFSCC's The Skin Virome: Recent Science and Product Claims in the COVID-19 Era

BBB National Programs Speakers: Annie Urgurlayan, Assistant Director, National Advertising Division and Peter Marinello, Vice President and Howard Smith, Attorney, Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Counc ...
Learn more
Jun 06, 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
 

 

 

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