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

 

NAD Recommends GlaxoSmithKline Discontinue Benefiber Claims of “100% Natural,” Satiety, and Curbing Cravings; Advertiser to Appeal

For Immediate Release 

Contact: Abby Hills, Director of Communications, BBB National Programs, 301.412.7769 / ahills@bbbnp.org 

 

New York, NY – May 26, 2020 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) recommended that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) discontinue the express claims that its Benefiber Original and Benefiber Healthy Shape fiber supplements are “100% natural,” and that Benefiber Healthy Shape is “clinically proven to curb cravings,” and “helps you feel full longer.” These claims, which appeared on Benefiber product packaging and website advertising, were challenged by The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G), maker of the competing dietary supplement and laxative product, Metamucil. GSK said that it will appeal the adverse findings to the National Advertising Review Board. 

NAD 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. 

With regard to the “100% natural” claim, NAD noted that the production of Benefiber involves a multi-step process that utilizes hydrochloric acid, added enzymes and a tailored, highly controlled method, which selects for biological properties that resist digestion, increases fiber content, enhances solubility, lowers viscosity and adds sweetness to the product marketed to consumers. This process transforms the digestible, 0% fiber wheat starch ingredient into the non-digestible, 85% fiber wheat dextrin ingredient touted to consumers. NAD carefully reviewed the evidence and arguments set forth by both parties and determined that the processing of wheat starch to yield the wheat dextrin found in Benefiber represents a significant alteration of the source ingredient that is inconsistent with a consumer’s reasonable understanding of a product that claims to be “100% natural,” and recommended that the claim be discontinued. 

NAD also determined that the evidence in the record did not provide a reasonable basis for the advertiser’s establishment claim that Benefiber Healthy Shape is “clinically proven to curb cravings” or the health-related satiety claim that Benefiber Healthy Shape “helps you feel full longer,” and recommended that these claims be discontinued. NAD noted that these claims would need to be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence, which must also demonstrate that the results will be meaningful to consumers (i.e., a study must show effectiveness in the relevant population). After reviewing the totality of the advertiser’s evidence regarding satiety, NAD determined that the studies submitted were either not consumer relevant in terms of population and the conditions under which the data was collected, measured outcomes or fiber-types that were not relevant to the challenged claims, or did not provide critical information that would permit NAD to assess the reliability of the study.  

In its advertiser’s statement, GSK stated that it “respectfully disagrees with the NAD’s findings and will appeal the decision in its entirety.  GSK firmly believes that the challenged claims are supported and that the NAD’s decision is inconsistent with the evidence in the record and NAD precedent. GSK appreciates the opportunity to participate in the self-regulatory process and looks forward to resolving this matter with the National Advertising Review Board.” 

 

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About the National Advertising Division: 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. 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

When Web Designs Turn Into Dark Patterns And What To Do About It

Recently I wrote about the proliferation of dark patterns and tried to give readers a sense of just how widespread these practices are. But it is not just the pervasiveness of dark patterns that has lawmakers and regulators concerned, it is the intent behind them and their impact on consumers. Nonprofit leaders, in particular, should be aware of this and how to guard against it given that they are well-positioned to garner and enhance consumer trust.
Read more
Blog

Politics Aside, Advertising Gains Guidance on Deception and Substantiation in the 1980s

As we continue to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Advertising Division (NAD) we are looking forward while taking stock of past decades, with a special focus on decisions and developments that continue to impact advertising law and NAD cases today. This month we highlight two pivotal moments from the 1980’s that helped shape NAD’s jurisprudence.
Read more
 

 

 

Decisions

NAD Recommends GlaxoSmithKline Discontinue Benefiber Claims of “100% Natural,” Satiety, and Curbing Cravings; Advertiser to Appeal

For Immediate Release 

Contact: Abby Hills, Director of Communications, BBB National Programs, 301.412.7769 / ahills@bbbnp.org 

 

New York, NY – May 26, 2020 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) recommended that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) discontinue the express claims that its Benefiber Original and Benefiber Healthy Shape fiber supplements are “100% natural,” and that Benefiber Healthy Shape is “clinically proven to curb cravings,” and “helps you feel full longer.” These claims, which appeared on Benefiber product packaging and website advertising, were challenged by The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G), maker of the competing dietary supplement and laxative product, Metamucil. GSK said that it will appeal the adverse findings to the National Advertising Review Board. 

NAD 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. 

With regard to the “100% natural” claim, NAD noted that the production of Benefiber involves a multi-step process that utilizes hydrochloric acid, added enzymes and a tailored, highly controlled method, which selects for biological properties that resist digestion, increases fiber content, enhances solubility, lowers viscosity and adds sweetness to the product marketed to consumers. This process transforms the digestible, 0% fiber wheat starch ingredient into the non-digestible, 85% fiber wheat dextrin ingredient touted to consumers. NAD carefully reviewed the evidence and arguments set forth by both parties and determined that the processing of wheat starch to yield the wheat dextrin found in Benefiber represents a significant alteration of the source ingredient that is inconsistent with a consumer’s reasonable understanding of a product that claims to be “100% natural,” and recommended that the claim be discontinued. 

NAD also determined that the evidence in the record did not provide a reasonable basis for the advertiser’s establishment claim that Benefiber Healthy Shape is “clinically proven to curb cravings” or the health-related satiety claim that Benefiber Healthy Shape “helps you feel full longer,” and recommended that these claims be discontinued. NAD noted that these claims would need to be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence, which must also demonstrate that the results will be meaningful to consumers (i.e., a study must show effectiveness in the relevant population). After reviewing the totality of the advertiser’s evidence regarding satiety, NAD determined that the studies submitted were either not consumer relevant in terms of population and the conditions under which the data was collected, measured outcomes or fiber-types that were not relevant to the challenged claims, or did not provide critical information that would permit NAD to assess the reliability of the study.  

In its advertiser’s statement, GSK stated that it “respectfully disagrees with the NAD’s findings and will appeal the decision in its entirety.  GSK firmly believes that the challenged claims are supported and that the NAD’s decision is inconsistent with the evidence in the record and NAD precedent. GSK appreciates the opportunity to participate in the self-regulatory process and looks forward to resolving this matter with the National Advertising Review Board.” 

 

### 

About the National Advertising Division: 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. 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

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 ...
Learn more
Sep 29, 2021 Hybrid

Institute for Perception's Current Topics in Sensory and Consumer Science

BBB National Programs Speaker Annie M. Urgurlayan, Assistant Director, National Advertising Division
Learn more
Oct 26, 2021 White Sulpher Springs
 

 

 

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