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National Advertising Division

The U.S. advertising industry founded the National Advertising Division (NAD) and the National Advertising Review Board in 1971 as a system of independent industry self-regulation to build consumer trust in advertising and support fair competition in the marketplace. NAD holds national advertising across all media types to high standards of truth and accuracy by reviewing truth-in-advertising challenges from businesses, trade associations, consumers, or on its own initiative. NAD’s case decisions represent the single largest body of advertising law in the country.

Program Impact

Over its 50-year history, NAD has published thousands of decisions and has become the leading voice in providing guidance for truthful and transparent advertising. NAD reviews advertising in any industry and advertising format and often addresses cutting-edge advertising issues before regulatory guidance is available. Advertising claims can be challenged in one of three tracks: Fast-Track SWIFT, Standard Track, and Complex Track.  

 

 

File a Challenge

Advertising disputes resolved more efficiently than litigation. Select a Track

Ad Law 101

Access the tools you need to learn truth-in-advertising basics. Learn the Basics

Recent Decisions

Summaries of case decisions are publicly published, including appeals. Case Summaries

Resource Library

From annual reports to infographics to ad law 101, education is key. Access Resources

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

The National Advertising Division (NAD) brings value to business by leveling the playing field and enhancing consumer trust in the marketplace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Upcoming Events

NAD 2022 Annual Conference

Register today for the National Advertising Division (NAD) annual conference, NAD 2022, which will focus on the evolving nature of the intangible contract that exists between brands and consumers. The ...
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Sep 19, 2022 Washington, DC

Personal Care Products Council Science Symposium 2022

Annie M. Ugurlayan, Assistant Director, National Advertising Division will speak on a panel regarding advertising self-regulation in the U.S. and cosmetics cases
Learn more
Oct 26, 2022 Arlington, VA

Veeva Industries – Virtual Summit – Consumer Products & Chemicals

Eric Unis, Senior Attorney, National Advertising Division joins a panel on sustainability
Learn more
Oct 27, 2022 Virtual

10th Microbiome & Probiotics R&D & Business Collaboration Forum

Laura Brett, Vice President, National Advertising Division will speak on Advertising Microbiome and Probiotics: Legal Standards and Guidance
Learn more
Oct 28, 2022 Miami, FL
 

 

 

News & Blog

 

NAD Recommends S.C. Johnson Discontinue “Non-Toxic” Claim on Windex Vinegar Glass Cleaner; Advertiser to Appeal to NARB

For Immediate Release

Contact: Laura Brett, Director, NAD, 212.705.0109 / lbrett@bbbnp.org

 

New York, NY – March 24, 2020 – The National Advertising Division (“NAD”) recommended that S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. (“SCJ”) discontinue the claim “non-toxic” on package labeling for its Windex Vinegar Glass Cleaner, following a challenge by The Procter & Gamble Company (“P&G”), maker of household goods including Mr. Clean cleaning sprays. The advertiser has said it will appeal NAD’s 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.

After considering the guidance offered by the Federal Trade Commission’s Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (“Green Guides”) and FTC precedent, NAD determined that the term “non-toxic,” as used on the label of Windex Vinegar Glass Cleaner, reasonably conveys a message that the product will not harm people (including small children), common pets, or the environment. Importantly, NAD noted that a reasonable consumer’s understanding of the concept of “will not harm” is not limited to death, but also various types of temporary physical illness, such as vomiting, rash, and gastrointestinal upset.

NAD evaluated SCJ’s substantiation, noting that the applicable standard for the advertiser’s “non-toxic” claim, which is both a health-related claim and an environmental benefit claim, is competent and reliable scientific evidence. In support of its “non-toxic” claim, the advertiser provided NAD with results from a complex, four step Framework it developed in order to evaluate potential risk of harm posed by its product formula, as well as expert declarations and an independent assessment of the Framework. After careful review, NAD determined that such evidence was insufficient to support the message conveyed that this product will not harm humans and the environment, including household pets.

NAD noted that for the challenged product, the advertiser and its experts based their conclusions regarding the appropriateness of classifying these products as “non-toxic” on a series of mathematical calculations. NAD concluded that while the techniques used to theorize the risk of harm posed by these products may be reasonable for evaluating toxicity within academia and the toxicological industry, they, by themselves, do not comport with the level of evidence a consumer would expect the advertiser to have in support of the strong message conveyed by its “non-toxic” claim. Without evidence demonstrating the real-world effects of the product’s toxicity, NAD determined that even when viewing the Framework holistically, as urged by the advertiser, the evidence fell short of providing the conclusive assessment of toxicity necessary to support a “non-toxic” claim. Thus, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the claim “non-toxic.”

In its advertiser’s statement, SCJ said that it “fundamentally disagrees” with NAD’s decision and will appeal NAD’s findings that the claim that Windex Vinegar Glass Cleaner is “non-toxic” is not adequately substantiated. SCJ stated that it believes “NAD has created an unreasonable standard for ‘non-toxic’ claims that is not supported by the FTC or any other regulatory body.”  SCJ added that its “science-based substantiation meets and exceeds the FTC’s and NAD’s standard of competent and reliable scientific evidence, and is fully consistent with the FTC’s intent to permit companies to make ‘non-toxic’ claims based on ‘competent and reliable scientific evidence.’”

 

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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

Defining The 'S' In ESG And Navigating Disclosures

For businesses interested in making robust ESG disclosures, not only can the sheer number of frameworks and standards make ESG performance reporting seem overwhelming, the frameworks themselves can be a bit fuzzy on how they define and measure the "S" of ESG.
Read more
Blog

Avoiding False Advertising When Making Health-Related Claims

NAD cases provide critical insight to advertisers. Understanding what went wrong with the advertising that NAD reviews and evaluates can help prevent future mistakes. Follow these tips to prevent misleading advertising that could interfere with the successful launch of a new health or wellness product.
Read more
 

 

 

Decisions

NAD Recommends S.C. Johnson Discontinue “Non-Toxic” Claim on Windex Vinegar Glass Cleaner; Advertiser to Appeal to NARB

For Immediate Release

Contact: Laura Brett, Director, NAD, 212.705.0109 / lbrett@bbbnp.org

 

New York, NY – March 24, 2020 – The National Advertising Division (“NAD”) recommended that S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. (“SCJ”) discontinue the claim “non-toxic” on package labeling for its Windex Vinegar Glass Cleaner, following a challenge by The Procter & Gamble Company (“P&G”), maker of household goods including Mr. Clean cleaning sprays. The advertiser has said it will appeal NAD’s 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.

After considering the guidance offered by the Federal Trade Commission’s Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (“Green Guides”) and FTC precedent, NAD determined that the term “non-toxic,” as used on the label of Windex Vinegar Glass Cleaner, reasonably conveys a message that the product will not harm people (including small children), common pets, or the environment. Importantly, NAD noted that a reasonable consumer’s understanding of the concept of “will not harm” is not limited to death, but also various types of temporary physical illness, such as vomiting, rash, and gastrointestinal upset.

NAD evaluated SCJ’s substantiation, noting that the applicable standard for the advertiser’s “non-toxic” claim, which is both a health-related claim and an environmental benefit claim, is competent and reliable scientific evidence. In support of its “non-toxic” claim, the advertiser provided NAD with results from a complex, four step Framework it developed in order to evaluate potential risk of harm posed by its product formula, as well as expert declarations and an independent assessment of the Framework. After careful review, NAD determined that such evidence was insufficient to support the message conveyed that this product will not harm humans and the environment, including household pets.

NAD noted that for the challenged product, the advertiser and its experts based their conclusions regarding the appropriateness of classifying these products as “non-toxic” on a series of mathematical calculations. NAD concluded that while the techniques used to theorize the risk of harm posed by these products may be reasonable for evaluating toxicity within academia and the toxicological industry, they, by themselves, do not comport with the level of evidence a consumer would expect the advertiser to have in support of the strong message conveyed by its “non-toxic” claim. Without evidence demonstrating the real-world effects of the product’s toxicity, NAD determined that even when viewing the Framework holistically, as urged by the advertiser, the evidence fell short of providing the conclusive assessment of toxicity necessary to support a “non-toxic” claim. Thus, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the claim “non-toxic.”

In its advertiser’s statement, SCJ said that it “fundamentally disagrees” with NAD’s decision and will appeal NAD’s findings that the claim that Windex Vinegar Glass Cleaner is “non-toxic” is not adequately substantiated. SCJ stated that it believes “NAD has created an unreasonable standard for ‘non-toxic’ claims that is not supported by the FTC or any other regulatory body.”  SCJ added that its “science-based substantiation meets and exceeds the FTC’s and NAD’s standard of competent and reliable scientific evidence, and is fully consistent with the FTC’s intent to permit companies to make ‘non-toxic’ claims based on ‘competent and reliable scientific evidence.’”

 

###

 

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.

 

BBB National Programs provides summaries of all case decisions in the Case Decision Summary library. For the full text of National Advertising Division, National Advertising Review Board, and Children’s Advertising Review Unit decisions, subscribe to the Online Archive. For members of the press, the full text of any BBB National Programs decision is available by emailing the request to press@bbbnp.org

 

 

 

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