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).
 

For the last 50 years in the advertising industry, companies have held each other to a higher standard. In response to the pressures and criticisms of consumerism that had mounted during the previous decade, in 1971 the advertising industry established the National Advertising Division (NAD) and National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the U.S. mechanism of independent self-regulation that has stood the test of time and technological innovation.

 

Visit NAD50th.org

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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

The 2010s – the Digital Advertising Frontier

In the 2010s, the confluence of social media and digital advertising generated two new issues in advertising law: the use of influencers for marketing and the propriety of native advertising. Both the FTC and NAD provided guidance on these emerging issues during NAD’s fifth decade of work in ad law.
Read more
Blog

Self-Regulation Is a Tool to Mitigate Litigation

Independent industry self-regulation, when developed and implemented properly, is a powerful tool for enhancing consumer trust in business and protecting consumers. And as we emerge from the reduced trust in government wreaked by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is time for independent industry self-regulation to help solve vexing business problems. In-house counsel can play an important leadership role in those efforts.
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.

 

 

 

Upcoming Events

Institute for Perception's Current Topics in Sensory and Consumer Science

BBB National Programs Speaker Annie M. Urgurlayan, Assistant Director, National Advertising Division
Learn more
Oct 26, 2021 White Sulpher Springs

RILA Retail Law Education Conference 2021

Mary Engle, Executive Vice President, Policy, BBB National Programs will speak on Avoiding Dark Patterns While Meeting Consumer Demand and Preferences in Online Shopping Experiences
Learn more
Oct 26, 2021 Virtual

UK Advertising Association (AA) Ad Net Zero Global Summit

Mary Engle, Executive Vice President, Policy, BBB National Programs discusses global SRO's industry action plans around environmental claims and greenwashing.
Learn more
Nov 03, 2021 Virtual

Beauty Connect West

Katherine Armstrong, Deputy Director, National Advertising Division, BBB National Programs will discuss the Regulation of Ingestible Products in the USA
Learn more
Nov 03, 2021 Los Angeles
 

 

 

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