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.

 

 

 

 

 

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

NAD Finds Tide purclean’s Website “Plant-Based” Claims Supported But Label Claims Should be Modified; P&G to Appeal “4x Cleaning Power” Finding

For Immediate Release 

Contact: Abby Hills, Director of Communications, BBB National Programs 

703.247.9330 / press@bbbnp.org 

 

New York, NY – August 13, 2020 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs determined that The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) properly supported “plant-based” claims on its website for its 75% plant-based laundry detergent, Tide purclean. However, NAD recommended that the advertiser modify the plant-based claims appearing on its product label. NAD also found certain cleaning performance claims for Tide purclean supported and that the “purclean” brand name, by itself, was not misleading. P&G’s advertising claims for Tide purclean were challenged by Seventh Generation Company. 

P&G will appeal NAD’s recommendation that it discontinue the claim that Tide purclean has “4x Cleaning Power” to the National Advertising Review Board. 

 

NAD reviewed the advertiser’s plant-based claims, including “purclean Plant Based” and “A Powerful, Plant-Based Clean You Can Feel Good About” and considered whether the challenged advertising conveyed implied claims that: 

  • Tide purclean only cleans with plant-based ingredients; 

  • Tide purclean does not contain petroleum ingredients;  

  • Tide purclean is made with no petroleum cleaning ingredients and all ingredients are disclosed; and  

  • Tide purclean’s efficacy comes from only plant-based cleaning ingredients. 

 

Regarding the advertiser’s packaging claims, NAD determined that a consumer viewing the “plant-based” claim and leaf imagery on the front of the bottle and the claim, “the powerful plant-based clean you can feel good about,” on the rear panel, could reasonably take away the unsupported message that the product is 100% “plant-based.” NAD recommended that when the term “plant-based” is used the advertiser clearly and conspicuously disclose the limitations of the claim, namely, that the product is “75% plant-based” and avoid the implication that the product is 100% plant-based or that the “powerful cleaning power” is derived solely from plant-based ingredients.   

Regarding the challenged video, which featured a family singing about why consumers should switch to Tide purclean, NAD determined that the line “Tide purclean, it has nothing to hide. It’s made with plants and has the cleaning strength of Tide” which appears immediately after the claims that “They don’t put in phosphates. No dyes or chlorines. It’s gentle on my skin” reasonably conveys the unsupported messages that Tide purclean also does not contain any petroleum-based ingredients. NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue this commercial or modify it to more clearly disclose the amount of plant-based content and so avoid the implication that Tide purclean is 100% plant-based. NAD further recommended that the disclaimer at the end of the commercial, “75% plant-based per USDA bio-based program,” be modified to more clearly and conspicuously disclose the amount of plant-based content included in the product.  

Seventh Generation also took issue with a product description on the Tide purclean website, specifically contending that P&G omitted the petroleum-based ingredients when discussing the product formula, leading consumers to believe that the product is more plant-based than is actually the case. However, NAD determined that the advertiser properly supported its plant-based claims and that the omission of the petroleum-based ingredients from the product description section was not misleading so long as the products are adequately disclosed in the accompanying ingredients tab. 

 

NAD reviewed the advertiser’s cleaning performance claims comparing purclean to other Tide products and considered whether challenged advertising conveyed implied claims that: 

  • Tide purclean is as effective as other Tide detergents while only using plant-based cleaning ingredients; and 

  • With Tide purclean, P&G has found a way to be as effective at cleaning as non-plant-based detergents while using only plant-based cleaning ingredients. 

 

NAD reviewed P&G’s evidence and concluded that it provided a reasonable basis for its claims that Tide purclean is the “1st Plant-Based Detergent With The Cleaning Power of Tide,” “Finally, Plant-Based Power that Cleans Like Tide,” “Tide purclean is the first plant-based liquid laundry detergent that has the cleaning power that you expect and deserve from Tide, even in cold water,” and “Tide purclean performs as well as Tide Original liquid detergent regarding stain removal.”  

As for the challenged cleaning performance claims comparing purclean to leading “Natural Detergent” products, NAD considered the express claim, “When tested against the leading national natural detergents, Tide purclean outperforms them in stain removal.” NAD also reviewed the challenged implied claim that all other plant-based liquid detergents, including Seventh Generation, are ineffective and not as effective as Tide purclean. After reviewing the evidence, NAD concluded that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis that Tide purclean outperformed the leading “natural” laundry detergents and that these competing detergents are not as effective as Tide purclean. However, NAD determined that consumers could reasonably interpret these claims to mean that the products against which P&G tested its Tide purclean are “natural detergents” and, given the comparison, that Tide purclean is as well. Consequently, NAD recommended that P&G modify these claims to more accurately describe the products compared as “bio-based” or “plant-based.” NAD did not conclude that the advertiser’s claim reasonably conveyed the message that all other detergents compared were wholly “ineffective” at stain removal.  

NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the claim that Tide purclean has “4x Cleaning Power of Leading Natural Detergent,” which appeared on the front and back labels of the products and in a banner advertisement for retailers. In each instance, the claim is accompanied by the disclosure: “1 dose Tide purclean vs 4 doses leading natural detergent.” NAD noted that there was the potential for consumer confusion as to which brand is the leading “natural” detergent and that any claim should more clearly describe the product compared as biobased or plant-based. NAD also had several concerns with the consumer relevance of the testing protocol used by P&G and whether one dose of Tide purclean versus a quadruple dose of the leading “natural” detergent was a good fit for the “4x cleaning power” claim.  

The advertiser noted that it had permanently discontinued its “6x the cleaning power” website claim before the start of the challenge. Therefore, NAD did not review this claim on the merits.   

In its advertiser’s statement, P&G stated that it agrees to comply with NAD’s recommendations, except with respect to NAD’s recommendation to discontinue the “4x Cleaning Power” claim, which it will appeal.  

 

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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

All About SWIFT: Resolving Straightforward Ad Disputes in a Matter of Weeks

On May 13, Laura Brett, VP of our National Advertising Division (NAD) joined Loeb & Loeb’s David Mallen to discuss the new Fast-Track SWIFT process. The SWIFT process has been officially launched and the NAD team has begun processing claims.
Read more
 

 

 

Upcoming Events

CARU Conference: Virtual Series

Why Diversity and Inclusion is Good for Business: This presentation will cover why a workplace culture that supports diversity is the key to garnering unique ideas that just may be the next big thing. ...
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Nov 17, 2020 Virtual

Kidvertising 101

Kidvertising 101 is a two-day seminar that provides advertisers, marketers, and legal counsel with the tools and best practices needed to stay out of the crosshairs of the FTC. Whether you are new to ...
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Nov 18, 2020 Virtual
 

 

 

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