National Advertising Division
Truth & TransparencyVoluntary 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 ExamineNAD’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 & CostThe 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 UncertaintyNAD 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 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 SWIFTSingle-issue digital advertising cases with decisions in 20 business days. Learn More
Standard TrackOpen to a variety of case types with decisions in four to six months. Learn More
Complex TrackCases 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:
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 Cover Three Discontinue Claims that Brain Defense Dietary Supplement has a Positive Impact on Traumatic Brain Injuries
Contact: Abby Hills, Director of Communications, BBB National Programs
703.247.9330 / firstname.lastname@example.org
New York, NY – September 29, 2020 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs recommended that Cover Three discontinue claims for its Brain Defense dietary supplement that:
- The Brain Defense product itself provides certain health-related benefits;
- Brain Defense has a positive impact on traumatic brain injuries (TBIs);
- The ingredients in Brain Defense improve cognition and memory; and
- Brain Defense “boosts physical performance.”
NAD also recommended that the advertiser discontinue the testimonial “as a mother of a newborn I want to make sure my baby gets the nutrients needed to grow a beautiful brain. I love this Dr. formulated product.”
The claims were challenged by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN).
In the absence of any product testing to support the challenged product performance claims, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue claims that the product itself confers the claimed benefits. NAD considered whether the evidence on individual ingredients found in Brain Defense could support qualified claims as to the promised benefits, reviewing clinical studies and review articles on three ingredients found in Brain Defense submitted by the advertiser – (1) Omega-3 fatty acids, (2) resveratrol, and (3) curcumin.
With regard to whether Brain Defense protects against or reduces the impact of TBIs, NAD appreciated that during the course of the proceeding the advertiser elected to permanently discontinue and modify many of the challenged claims and testimonials to avoid referring to TBIs. However, NAD remained concerned about certain modified claims and the context in which they appear, including:
- “Defend your brain. Before, during, or after the season,” accompanied by a picture of a child wearing a football uniform; and
- “Return: Issues do not have to define you. Regenerate the past,” accompanied by a picture of a solider in uniform.
NAD determined that the advertiser’s evidence did not support a qualified claim that DHA will protect against TBIs, such as concussions, and recommended that the claims be discontinued. NAD also recommended that the advertiser discontinue all references and images relating to TBIs on the “Our Story” portion of its website.
NAD further determined that the evidence in the record was not sufficiently reliable or a good fit to support qualified claims regarding the ability of any of the ingredients in Brain Defense to improve cognition and memory.
NAD also recommended that the advertiser discontinue the claim “boosts physical performance” because Cover Three’s only study on physical performance did not assess whether DHA improved physical performance and was therefore insufficient to support a qualified claim that DHA can boost physical performance.
Finally, NAD recommended discontinuance of the testimonial “as a mother of a newborn I want to make sure my baby gets the nutrients needed to grow a beautiful brain. I love this Dr. formulated product.” NAD noted that the advertiser did not provide any evidence demonstrating the cognitive or memory benefits of Brain Defense or its ingredients in the general population (i.e. mothers), let alone that any benefits are conferred to infants, either by direct supplementation or from supplementing nursing mothers for the benefit of an infant.
In its advertiser’s statement, Cover Three agreed to comply with NAD’s recommendation. Cover Three further stated, “we look forward to future research on our ingredients and how they relate to brain health. As the medical community’s understanding about the brain grows, we hope to see it utilize and integrate the emerging understanding of nutrition science.”
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.
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