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

 

BBB National Programs National Advertising Division Recommends PRN Physician Recommended Nutraceuticals Discontinue Certain Challenged Product and Ingredient Claims for Nuretin Medical Food

For Immediate Release

Contact: Laura Brett, Vice President, NAD, 212-705-0109 / lbrett@bbbnp.org

 

 

New York, NY – January 22, 2020 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) recommended that PRN Physician Recommended Nutraceuticals discontinue certain challenged product and ingredient claims for its nuretin medical food, following a challenge by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (“CRN”).

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.

The express claims challenged by CRN appeared online and on product labeling. NAD noted that the challenged advertising claims are variations of the same message: the onset and effects of diabetic retinopathy may be prevented or delayed by the long-term use of nuretin.

NAD determined that the requisite level of support for the challenged nuretin claims is competent and reliable scientific evidence because the advertiser’s powerful claims causally connect taking nuretin supplements with preventing or delaying harm to vision due to diabetic retinopathy. In support of these claims, the advertiser provided citations to the Sala-Vila study, an observational study on omega-3 fatty acid dietary intake (food and not supplements) in a Spanish population; and two animal studies.

NAD noted that the advertiser’s claims include both the benefits of the nuretin product as a whole or just the ingredients in nuretin. Thus, NAD considered the sufficiency of the advertiser’s support for both product and ingredient claims.

NAD noted that when there is substantiation only for the efficacy of ingredients in a product, but not for the product itself, any claims must be clearly expressed as ingredient claims. With regard to its product claims, the advertiser did not submit any testing on the nuretin product itself, therefore NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue its product claims, including:

  • “nuretin is a specially-formulated medical food that provides the right balance and doses of Omega-3 fatty acids in highly absorbable form to ensure that you are able to utilize Omega-3 essential fatty acids for protecting your eyesight.”
  • “You can’t really start taking nuretin too soon. It’s an essential nutrient that has shown an almost 50% decrease in risk of sight threatening diabetic retinopathy.”
  • “nuretin should be part of your daily regimen to slow down the advancement to diabetic retinopathy and to assist in delaying vision loss. It’s easy to swallow softgels daily to protect your eyesight.”
  • “nuretin delays onset-slows progression-reduced risk of vision loss”
  • “A specially formulated medical food to delay the onset and slow the progression to diabetic retinopathy.”
  • “Why nuretin? nuretin may delay the onset, slow the progression to and reduce the risk of vision loss associated with diabetic retinopathy.”

NAD also considered the advertiser’s express ingredient claims and whether the advertiser could modify its product performance claims into carefully tailored ingredient claims. NAD noted that while advertisers may make properly qualified claims based on ingredients in their supplements, those ingredients must be present in their products in the same amount, formulation and route of administration as the underlying ingredient studies. However, NAD was concerned that the Sala-Vila study was not relevant to the advertiser’s claims because the Sala-Vila study participants obtained their omega-3 fatty acids from food, while nuretin supplies DHA and EPA in a supplement. NAD noted that the advertiser did not provide any evidence that the benefits obtained from the food in the Sala-Vila study could reasonably be extrapolated to consumers taking nuretin. Therefore, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue its ingredient claims, including:

  • “It has been shown in clinical studies that specially formulated omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce the risk and slow the advancement of diabetic retinopathy.”
  • “Multiple clinical studies have shown that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) may delay the onset and slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy.”

In its advertiser’s statement, PRN Physician Recommended Nutraceuticals took issue with NAD’s findings, but stated that it “will comply with NAD’s recommendations.” The advertiser further stated, “we note that PRN had, prior to NAD’s recommendations, already voluntarily discontinued many of the package and labeling claims for nuretin cited by NAD. We have now made the further decision, in part as a response to NAD’s decision in this matter, to sell nuretin as a dietary supplement, rather than as a medical food. Therefore, in accordance with FDA regulations for dietary supplements, we shall immediately discontinue making any disease claims relative to nuretin, including the product and ingredient claims cited by NAD in this matter.”

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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. The programs were formerly administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. BBB NP 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

After Seven Months, the Verdict is in: Fast-Track SWIFT is Fast and Fair

The National Advertising Division (NAD) Fast-Track SWIFT advertising challenge process launched seven months ago as a faster way to resolve single-issue cases. The process has kept its promise of fast and fair decisions. This blog covers lessons learned and best practices gathered by the NAD team since the launch of SWIFT.
Read more
Blog

NAD 2020: A Virtually Stellar Advertising Law Conference

This year the National Advertising Division (NAD) Annual Conference, NAD 2020, welcomed marketing and advertising law experts to a virtual event that featured high-caliber keynote speakers, cutting-edge panels on advertising law, and key topics such as COVID-19 fraud, diversity and bias in advertising law, and the controversial role of social media. Here are some takeaways from the event that we found worthy of a call-out.
Read more
 

 

 

Decisions

BBB National Programs National Advertising Division Recommends PRN Physician Recommended Nutraceuticals Discontinue Certain Challenged Product and Ingredient Claims for Nuretin Medical Food

For Immediate Release

Contact: Laura Brett, Vice President, NAD, 212-705-0109 / lbrett@bbbnp.org

 

 

New York, NY – January 22, 2020 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) recommended that PRN Physician Recommended Nutraceuticals discontinue certain challenged product and ingredient claims for its nuretin medical food, following a challenge by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (“CRN”).

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.

The express claims challenged by CRN appeared online and on product labeling. NAD noted that the challenged advertising claims are variations of the same message: the onset and effects of diabetic retinopathy may be prevented or delayed by the long-term use of nuretin.

NAD determined that the requisite level of support for the challenged nuretin claims is competent and reliable scientific evidence because the advertiser’s powerful claims causally connect taking nuretin supplements with preventing or delaying harm to vision due to diabetic retinopathy. In support of these claims, the advertiser provided citations to the Sala-Vila study, an observational study on omega-3 fatty acid dietary intake (food and not supplements) in a Spanish population; and two animal studies.

NAD noted that the advertiser’s claims include both the benefits of the nuretin product as a whole or just the ingredients in nuretin. Thus, NAD considered the sufficiency of the advertiser’s support for both product and ingredient claims.

NAD noted that when there is substantiation only for the efficacy of ingredients in a product, but not for the product itself, any claims must be clearly expressed as ingredient claims. With regard to its product claims, the advertiser did not submit any testing on the nuretin product itself, therefore NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue its product claims, including:

  • “nuretin is a specially-formulated medical food that provides the right balance and doses of Omega-3 fatty acids in highly absorbable form to ensure that you are able to utilize Omega-3 essential fatty acids for protecting your eyesight.”
  • “You can’t really start taking nuretin too soon. It’s an essential nutrient that has shown an almost 50% decrease in risk of sight threatening diabetic retinopathy.”
  • “nuretin should be part of your daily regimen to slow down the advancement to diabetic retinopathy and to assist in delaying vision loss. It’s easy to swallow softgels daily to protect your eyesight.”
  • “nuretin delays onset-slows progression-reduced risk of vision loss”
  • “A specially formulated medical food to delay the onset and slow the progression to diabetic retinopathy.”
  • “Why nuretin? nuretin may delay the onset, slow the progression to and reduce the risk of vision loss associated with diabetic retinopathy.”

NAD also considered the advertiser’s express ingredient claims and whether the advertiser could modify its product performance claims into carefully tailored ingredient claims. NAD noted that while advertisers may make properly qualified claims based on ingredients in their supplements, those ingredients must be present in their products in the same amount, formulation and route of administration as the underlying ingredient studies. However, NAD was concerned that the Sala-Vila study was not relevant to the advertiser’s claims because the Sala-Vila study participants obtained their omega-3 fatty acids from food, while nuretin supplies DHA and EPA in a supplement. NAD noted that the advertiser did not provide any evidence that the benefits obtained from the food in the Sala-Vila study could reasonably be extrapolated to consumers taking nuretin. Therefore, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue its ingredient claims, including:

  • “It has been shown in clinical studies that specially formulated omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce the risk and slow the advancement of diabetic retinopathy.”
  • “Multiple clinical studies have shown that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) may delay the onset and slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy.”

In its advertiser’s statement, PRN Physician Recommended Nutraceuticals took issue with NAD’s findings, but stated that it “will comply with NAD’s recommendations.” The advertiser further stated, “we note that PRN had, prior to NAD’s recommendations, already voluntarily discontinued many of the package and labeling claims for nuretin cited by NAD. We have now made the further decision, in part as a response to NAD’s decision in this matter, to sell nuretin as a dietary supplement, rather than as a medical food. Therefore, in accordance with FDA regulations for dietary supplements, we shall immediately discontinue making any disease claims relative to nuretin, including the product and ingredient claims cited by NAD in this matter.”

###

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. The programs were formerly administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. BBB NP 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 at 50 and a Look Back at Advertising Self-Regulation

A discussion moderated by Peter Marinello, Vice President, Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC), BBB National Programs
Learn more
Jan 27, 2021 Virtual

RE:formulate: Fermentation-Enabled Alternative Protein Innovation Summit

BBB National Programs Speaker: Alexander Goldman, Attorney, National Advertising Division
Learn more
Jan 28, 2021 Virtual

4th Annual Legal, Regulatory, and Compliance Forum on Advertising Claims Substantiation

BBB National Programs Speaker: Kathleen Dunnigan, Senior Attorney, National Advertising Division and Angela Tiffin, Senior Attorney, Children's Advertising Review Unit
Learn more
Feb 03, 2021 Virtual

Social Media and Mobile Devices 2021: Addressing Corporate Risks

BBB National Programs Speaker: La Toya Sutton, Attorney, National Advertising Division
Learn more
Feb 17, 2021 Virtual
 

 

 

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