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 Finds Certain Verizon 5G Speed Claims Supported; Recommends Modification or Discontinuation of Others

For Immediate Release 
Contact: Abby Hills, Director of Communications, BBB National Programs 

703.247.9330 / press@bbbnp.org  

New York, NY – October 15, 2020 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs determined that Verizon Communications, Inc. provided a reasonable basis for claims that its 5G service offers “speed 10x faster” than T-Mobile’s 5G and that Verizon’s 5G is “faster even than my home internet.” NAD also concluded that two challenged advertisements do not convey implied claims regarding the ability of Verizon’s 5G service to provide coverage indoors.  

However, for other claims, NAD recommended that Verizon: 

  • Avoid conveying the unsupported message that Verizon’s 5G service is 10x faster than home internet; 
  • Discontinue the claim that its customers “don’t worry about lag” when using its 5G service; and
  • Discontinue the claim that a download that used to take 20 minutes now takes 20 seconds or modify it to make a quantified claim supported by the evidence. 


Further, with regard to claims comparing Verizon’s 4G LTE to T-Mobile’s 5G, NAD recommended that Verizon: 

  • Modify the advertising to convey a message about what consumers can typically expect to achieve network-wide; or  
  • Modify its demonstrations to depict the typical network-speeds. 


The claims at issue were challenged by T-Mobile US, Inc., provider of competing wireless services. T-Mobile challenged a series of advertisements, which included monadic and comparative claims about Verizon’s 5G service, as well as claims comparing Verizon’s 4G LTE service to T-Mobile’s 5G service. 

T-Mobile challenged Verizon’s “5G Built Right for Firefighters,” “5G Built Right for Music,” and “5G Built Right for Education” advertisements and argued that the commercials convey the challenged implied messages that Verizon’s network: 

  • Generally provides sufficient coverage indoors to support real-time interactive services, or 
  • Will generally provide indoor coverage in the future from exterior cell sites that will be sufficient to support real-time interactive services. 


NAD determined that Verizon’s “5G Built Right for Music” and “5G Built Right for Education” advertisements do not convey a general message about the performance of Verizon’s 5G Ultra-Wideband service outside the specifically depicted locations. As a result, NAD concluded that the commercials do not convey the challenged implied messages. 

Verizon committed to permanently discontinue its “5G Built Right for Firefighters” and “5G Built Right for First Responders” advertisements and the challenged claims made therein. Therefore, NAD did not review these claims on their merits. 

Regarding claims in Verizon’s “Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G” advertisement, NAD determined that: 

  • Verizon had provided a reasonable basis for its claim that its 5G service is “faster even than my home internet,” but recommended that Verizon modify its advertising to avoid conveying the unsupported message that its 5G service is 10x faster than home internet.  
  • The advertiser did not provide reliable support for the claim that is customers “don’t worry about lag” when using its 5G service and recommended that it be discontinued. 
  • Although there was no dispute that Verizon’s 5G service is significantly faster than its 4G service, the evidence in the record does not support the claim that a download that used to take 20 minutes now takes 20 seconds (i.e., Verizon’s 5G is 60 times faster than its 4G), and therefore Verizon discontinue the claim or modify it to make a quantified claim supported by the evidence. 
  • Verizon substantiated its claim that its 5G offers “speed 10x faster” than T-Mobile’s 5G (referring to download speeds), which also appeared in a “Places and Performances” advertisement as well as a video advertisement that contains a product demonstration comparing Verizon’s 5G to T-Mobile’s 5G. 
  • In response to T-Mobile’s contention that the challenged advertising conveys the implied message that Verizon offers 5G services to consumers on a wide-scale basis that are over ten times faster than T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G services, NAD recommended that Verizon clearly and conspicuously disclose the limited availability of its 5G service.


T-Mobile also challenged two videos featuring Jenny Slate that open with the question “5G is faster than 4G right?” Standing on a city street, Jenny Slate asks passersby which they think will be faster, Verizon 4G or T-Mobile 5G, to which they generally reply that 5G will be faster. These videos also include a network speed demonstration showing that Verizon 4G is faster than T-Mobile 5G. NAD concluded that consumers could reasonably take away the unsupported message that this demonstration is true for consumers typically, across the network.  

Further, with respect to challenged implied claims that Verizon’s typical 4G LTE download speed is over 120 Mbps (as shown in one of the videos) and T-Mobile’s typical 5G download speed is 20 Mbps (as shown in the other video), NAD determined that the speeds depicted in the speed demonstrations should reflect the speeds consumers typically experience. NAD did not reach the issue of whether the advertising conveys a misleading message about the basis for the claim but noted that, to the extent that different benchmark measurements produce different results, inconsistent evidence on comparative speeds calls into question the reliability of the test results and whether the comparative claim is supported. 

NAD therefore recommended that, regarding Verizon’s comparisons of its 4G to T-Mobile’s 5G, Verizon modify the advertising to convey a message about what consumers can typically expect to achieve network-wide or, alternatively, limit the message to a speed comparison in specific cities and, where those speeds are not typical network-wide, and avoid conveying the message that the speeds described are typical network-wide. NAD made similar recommendations regarding the product demonstrations: that Verizon modify its demonstrations to depict the typical network-wide speeds or, alternatively, limit the message to a speed comparison in specific cities and, where those speeds are not typical network-wide, avoid conveying the message that the speeds are typical network-wide. 

In its advertiser’s statement, Verizon stated that it will comply with NAD’s decision. 

### 

About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumer trust and consumers are heard. The non-profit organization creates a fairer playing field for businesses and a better experience for consumers through the development and delivery of effective third-party accountability and dispute resolution programs. Embracing its role as an independent organization since the restructuring of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in June 2019, BBB National Programs today oversees more than a dozen leading national industry self-regulation programs, and continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-directed marketing, and privacy. To learn more, 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

All About SWIFT: Resolving Straightforward Ad Disputes in a Matter of Weeks

On May 13, Laura Brett, VP of our National Advertising Division (NAD) joined Loeb & Loeb’s David Mallen to discuss the new Fast-Track SWIFT process. The SWIFT process has been officially launched and the NAD team has begun processing claims.
Read more
 

 

 

Upcoming Events

CARU Conference: Virtual Series

Why Diversity and Inclusion is Good for Business: This presentation will cover why a workplace culture that supports diversity is the key to garnering unique ideas that just may be the next big thing. ...
Learn more
Nov 17, 2020 Virtual

Kidvertising 101

Kidvertising 101 is a two-day seminar that provides advertisers, marketers, and legal counsel with an interactive masterclass on ‘kidvertising’ that includes actionable guidance to help you or your cl ...
Learn more
Nov 18, 2020 Virtual
 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

 

Contact Us

*Required fields