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 Recommends Verizon Discontinue the Claim that it is Delivering “The Most Powerful 5G Experience for America” in Two TV Commercials; 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 13, 2020 – The National Advertising Division (“NAD”) determined that, in the context of two challenged television commercials touting Verizon’s rollout of 5G service in sports venues, the claim that “Verizon is building the most powerful 5G experience for America” reasonably communicates a message about the consumer experience of using 5G mobile service that was not supported by the evidence in the record. Therefore, NAD recommended that Verizon discontinue the claim that it is delivering “the most powerful 5G experience for America.” Verizon said that it will appeal this adverse finding to the National Advertising Review Board (NARB). NAD also recommended that the advertiser modify the challenged advertising to ensure that disclosures regarding 5G coverage both inside and outside the touted sports venues are clear and conspicuous (e.g., that Verizon’s 5G service will be available in parts of the sports venues; and that it is available only in parts of select cities). The claims were challenged by AT&T Services, Inc., provider of competing wireless services. 

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 following are representative of the challenged claims: 

Express Claim 

  • “Verizon is building the most powerful 5G experience for America.” 

Implied Claims 

  • Verizon customers will experience the “massive capacity of 5G with ultra-wideband so more streaming, screaming, posting fans can experience 5G all at once” in stadiums and arenas with 5G. 

  • Verizon’s market-leading 5G performance and “massive capacity” is available to Verizon customers wherever it currently offers or will offer 5G, including outside stadiums and arenas. 

  • Verizon’s mmWave 5G service and the claimed performance benefits (most powerful experience, ability to provide claimed benefits to thousands of people simultaneously) will be available wherever Verizon’s 5G advertisements are shown. 

NAD determined that in the context of the challenged advertising, at least one message reasonably conveyed to consumers by the express claim that “Verizon is building the most powerful 5G experience for America” is the present tense message that Verizon is delivering “the most powerful 5G network for America.” NAD noted that this present tense message is conveyed by visuals of fans in sports venues, and that it is also conveyed by the present tense and even past tense language: the sports venues chose Verizon (past tense) because it is building the most powerful 5G experience. “This is happening now,” for the NFL. In basketball arenas, it is happening “soon” and “this season.” If Verizon can do this, “imagine what it can do for you.” “This is 5G built right.” NAD further noted that the 5G experience depicted and described is the experience of thousands of people attending the same sports event and sharing that experience. Consumers are asked to view this experience and “imagine what it can do” for them in the present.  

With regard to the evidence needed to support Verizon’s unqualified superiority claim, NAD noted that the challenged advertising goes beyond touting Verizon’s spectrum portfolio and reasonably communicates a message about the consumer experience of using 5G mobile service, both with regard to capacity (i.e., the ability to serve a large number of people at once) and usage (i.e, using Verizon’s 5G network to post content, an activity that relies upon a network’s upload and download speeds). Further, in the context of these advertisements, the word “power” conveys a message not only about speed but also potentially about, for example, resilience, coverage, and the reaction time of the network (i.e., latency). After reviewing Verizon’s evidence, NAD concluded that it was insufficient to support Verizon’s present tense “most powerful network” claim. Therefore, NAD recommended that Verizon discontinue the claim that it is delivering “the most powerful 5G experience for America.” 

AT&T also challenged three implied claims regarding the availability of Verizon’s 5G service in the sports venues themselves and outside the sports venues.  

NAD concluded that both the express language of the video advertisements as well as the images reasonably convey the message that Verizon customers will experience the “massive capacity of 5G with ultra-wideband so more streaming, screaming, posting fans can experience 5G all at once” in stadiums and arenas with 5G. Although both the challenged advertisements contain the disclosure that Verizon’s 5G service will be available in “parts of” the sports venue, NAD determined that the disclosures were not conspicuous. Therefore, NAD recommended that Verizon modify the challenged advertising to ensure that the disclosures regarding 5G coverage in the touted sports venues are clear and conspicuous. 

Further, NAD determined that the advertising conveys a message about Verizon’s 5G service outside of the touted sports venues. NAD has determined that when advertising conveys a message that a product or service is available, the limited availability of the touted service is a material fact which must be clearly and conspicuously disclosed. Although the two advertisements contain disclosures, NAD noted that only one of them contains a disclosure concerning the availability of Verizon’s 5G service outside of sports venues. NAD also had concerns regarding the prominence and clarity of the disclosures, which appear at the busiest moment of each commercial, with a sport event in progress, in small white text on a rapidly changing background, for a brief time. Therefore, NAD recommended that Verizon modify the challenged advertising to include a clear and conspicuous disclosure regarding the availability of Verizon’s 5G service outside of the touted sports venues – for example, that Verizon’s 5G service is “available only in parts of select cities.” 

In its advertiser’s statement, Verizon stated that it will comply with NAD’s recommendations regarding the clarity and conspicuousness of disclosures, however it will appeal a portion of NAD’s decision. Verizon stated that it “will appeal NAD’s contention that the claim ‘Verizon is building the most powerful 5G experience for America,’ in the context of the Stadium Access commercials, conveys a claim that Verizon is currently ‘delivering the most powerful 5G experience for America.’ The intent of the commercial is to inform consumers about the billions of dollars Verizon is investing in its 5G buildout. Verizon strongly believes that consumers understand that this is the only message that is reasonably conveyed.” 

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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 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

NAD Recommends Verizon Discontinue the Claim that it is Delivering “The Most Powerful 5G Experience for America” in Two TV Commercials; 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 13, 2020 – The National Advertising Division (“NAD”) determined that, in the context of two challenged television commercials touting Verizon’s rollout of 5G service in sports venues, the claim that “Verizon is building the most powerful 5G experience for America” reasonably communicates a message about the consumer experience of using 5G mobile service that was not supported by the evidence in the record. Therefore, NAD recommended that Verizon discontinue the claim that it is delivering “the most powerful 5G experience for America.” Verizon said that it will appeal this adverse finding to the National Advertising Review Board (NARB). NAD also recommended that the advertiser modify the challenged advertising to ensure that disclosures regarding 5G coverage both inside and outside the touted sports venues are clear and conspicuous (e.g., that Verizon’s 5G service will be available in parts of the sports venues; and that it is available only in parts of select cities). The claims were challenged by AT&T Services, Inc., provider of competing wireless services. 

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 following are representative of the challenged claims: 

Express Claim 

  • “Verizon is building the most powerful 5G experience for America.” 

Implied Claims 

  • Verizon customers will experience the “massive capacity of 5G with ultra-wideband so more streaming, screaming, posting fans can experience 5G all at once” in stadiums and arenas with 5G. 

  • Verizon’s market-leading 5G performance and “massive capacity” is available to Verizon customers wherever it currently offers or will offer 5G, including outside stadiums and arenas. 

  • Verizon’s mmWave 5G service and the claimed performance benefits (most powerful experience, ability to provide claimed benefits to thousands of people simultaneously) will be available wherever Verizon’s 5G advertisements are shown. 

NAD determined that in the context of the challenged advertising, at least one message reasonably conveyed to consumers by the express claim that “Verizon is building the most powerful 5G experience for America” is the present tense message that Verizon is delivering “the most powerful 5G network for America.” NAD noted that this present tense message is conveyed by visuals of fans in sports venues, and that it is also conveyed by the present tense and even past tense language: the sports venues chose Verizon (past tense) because it is building the most powerful 5G experience. “This is happening now,” for the NFL. In basketball arenas, it is happening “soon” and “this season.” If Verizon can do this, “imagine what it can do for you.” “This is 5G built right.” NAD further noted that the 5G experience depicted and described is the experience of thousands of people attending the same sports event and sharing that experience. Consumers are asked to view this experience and “imagine what it can do” for them in the present.  

With regard to the evidence needed to support Verizon’s unqualified superiority claim, NAD noted that the challenged advertising goes beyond touting Verizon’s spectrum portfolio and reasonably communicates a message about the consumer experience of using 5G mobile service, both with regard to capacity (i.e., the ability to serve a large number of people at once) and usage (i.e, using Verizon’s 5G network to post content, an activity that relies upon a network’s upload and download speeds). Further, in the context of these advertisements, the word “power” conveys a message not only about speed but also potentially about, for example, resilience, coverage, and the reaction time of the network (i.e., latency). After reviewing Verizon’s evidence, NAD concluded that it was insufficient to support Verizon’s present tense “most powerful network” claim. Therefore, NAD recommended that Verizon discontinue the claim that it is delivering “the most powerful 5G experience for America.” 

AT&T also challenged three implied claims regarding the availability of Verizon’s 5G service in the sports venues themselves and outside the sports venues.  

NAD concluded that both the express language of the video advertisements as well as the images reasonably convey the message that Verizon customers will experience the “massive capacity of 5G with ultra-wideband so more streaming, screaming, posting fans can experience 5G all at once” in stadiums and arenas with 5G. Although both the challenged advertisements contain the disclosure that Verizon’s 5G service will be available in “parts of” the sports venue, NAD determined that the disclosures were not conspicuous. Therefore, NAD recommended that Verizon modify the challenged advertising to ensure that the disclosures regarding 5G coverage in the touted sports venues are clear and conspicuous. 

Further, NAD determined that the advertising conveys a message about Verizon’s 5G service outside of the touted sports venues. NAD has determined that when advertising conveys a message that a product or service is available, the limited availability of the touted service is a material fact which must be clearly and conspicuously disclosed. Although the two advertisements contain disclosures, NAD noted that only one of them contains a disclosure concerning the availability of Verizon’s 5G service outside of sports venues. NAD also had concerns regarding the prominence and clarity of the disclosures, which appear at the busiest moment of each commercial, with a sport event in progress, in small white text on a rapidly changing background, for a brief time. Therefore, NAD recommended that Verizon modify the challenged advertising to include a clear and conspicuous disclosure regarding the availability of Verizon’s 5G service outside of the touted sports venues – for example, that Verizon’s 5G service is “available only in parts of select cities.” 

In its advertiser’s statement, Verizon stated that it will comply with NAD’s recommendations regarding the clarity and conspicuousness of disclosures, however it will appeal a portion of NAD’s decision. Verizon stated that it “will appeal NAD’s contention that the claim ‘Verizon is building the most powerful 5G experience for America,’ in the context of the Stadium Access commercials, conveys a claim that Verizon is currently ‘delivering the most powerful 5G experience for America.’ The intent of the commercial is to inform consumers about the billions of dollars Verizon is investing in its 5G buildout. Verizon strongly believes that consumers understand that this is the only message that is reasonably conveyed.” 

 ### 

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 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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