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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 Recommends Smile Direct Club Discontinue “3x Faster to Use Than Strips” Claim for Tooth Whitening Kit; Finds Certain Other Claims as Puffery

For Immediate Release 

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

301.412.7769 / ahills@bbbnp.org 

 

New York, NY – July 23, 2020 – The National Advertising Division (NAD), a division of BBB National Programs, recommended that Smile Direct Club (“SDC”) discontinue its “3x faster to use than strips” claim for its Bright On Whitening Kit. However, NAD concluded that in the absence of the “3x faster to use” comparative claim, certain claims constituted non-actionable puffery. The claims at issue, which appeared in website and social media advertisements, were challenged by The Procter & Gamble Company (“P&G”), maker of Crest Whitestrips. 

The advertiser’s Bright On Whitening Kit consists of a paint-on whitening pen plus a blue light device. The whitening pen uses hydrogen peroxide, but its usa instruction calls for a wear time of only five minutes twice a day. Whereas, the challenger markets several different varieties of Crest Whitestrips (with different strip counts and different levels of hydrogen peroxide), some of which contain a blue LED whitening light. Usage times for Crest Whitestrips vary in both length of wear and frequency, but most require a wear time of 30 minutes per day. 

NAD determined that SDC’s claim, “3x faster to use than strips,” conveys a broader message than the evidence can support. While SDC’s Bright On kit may be three times faster to use than the challenger’s Whitestrips products, the comparison to strips – known for their teeth whitening capabilities – reasonably conveys a message of equivalency to tooth whitening outcomes. NAD noted that such inference is reasonable in the context of the challenged advertising, in which the “3x faster to use” claim sits alongside claims of “Premium whitening” and “Brightest bright” smile on product packaging and website advertising. In the absence of evidence that SDC’s Bright On kit offers comparable whitening to Crest Whitestrips, NAD recommended that the claim be discontinued. 

NAD also considered whether the challenged advertisements convey the unsupported message that not only is the efficacy of the parties’ products similar, but that SDC’s product is superior because the benefit is conveyed in less time and that product users will achieve “premium whitening” and their “brightest bright smile” – an inherently comparative message. NAD concluded that in the absence of the “3x faster to use than strips” comparative claim, the claims that SDC’s Bright On offers product users a high quality, “premium teeth whitener” or premium whitening,” and allows users to achieve their “brightest bright” constitute non-actionable puffery. 

In its advertiser’s statement, SDC stated that it will comply with NAD’s recommendations. SDC further stated that it “disagrees with NAD that its expressly true statement that Bright On is ‘3x faster to use’ than competitive whitening strip products also conveys an implied efficacy claim. Nonetheless, SDC respects the self-regulatory process and will therefore update its website to remove that claim.” 

 

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About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumer trust and consumers are heard. This independent, non-profit organization enhances trust, innovation, and competition in the marketplace through the development and delivery of cost-effective, third-party self-regulation, dispute resolution, and accountability programs. BBB National Programs’ 10 leading industry self-regulation and dispute resolution programs resolve business issues of national and international importance, and fosters industry best practices in truth-in-advertising, child-directed marketing, data privacy, and dispute resolution. To learn more about industry self-regulation, 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

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
 

 

 

Upcoming Events

Canadian Institute Advertising & Marketing Law Conference

BBB National Programs Speakers: Laura Brett, Vice President, National Advertising Division and Maureen Enright, Vice President, Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative
Learn more
Jan 20, 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
Learn more
Feb 03, 2021 Virtual
 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

 

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