CFBAI_ProgramBackgrounds_4-28-2020

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

ACI's 6th Advanced Summit on Food Law - Regulation, Compliance, and Litigation

Katherine Armstrong, Deputy Director, National Advertising Division, BBB National Programs on Formulating an In-Depth and Sound Approach to Substantiating Green Claims
Learn more
Jul 13, 2022 Chicago, IL

Practising Law Institute (PLI) Hot Topics in Advertising Law 2022

Eric Unis, Senior Attorney, National Advertising Division will lead FTC and NAD Updates: Year in Review and Enforcement Priorities
Learn more
Jul 13, 2022 New York, NY

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 ...
Learn more
Sep 19, 2022 Washington, DC

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
 

 

 

News & Blog

 

Vitamin Bounty Voluntarily Discontinues Social Media Posts for Elderberry Immune Support Following NAD Inquiry into Implied COVID-19 Messages

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

703.247.9330 / press@bbbnp.org  

New York, NY – October 13, 2020 – Following an inquiry by the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs, Vitamin Bounty/Matherson Organics, LLC (“Vitamin Bounty”) discontinued Instagram and Facebook social media posts for its Vitamin Bounty Elderberry Immune Support, which conveyed implied messages about boosting immunity to protect users against, or treat, COVID-19. 

Through its routine monitoring program, NAD challenged Vitamin Bounty’s Instagram post for Elderberry Immune Support with the text:  

  • “[a]s restrictions are gradually lifting, it’s more important than ever to keep your immune system strong. Our Elderberry Immune Support keeps you protected with vitamin C, zinc, elderberries, garlic and echinacea; a powerful immune-boosting combo.” 


Health and safety concerns are a top priority for NAD’s monitoring efforts, with particular attention currently focused on advertising for dietary supplements and other products claiming to treat COVID-19. NAD noted that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have both stated that there are no approved vaccines, drugs, or investigational products currently available to treat or prevent COVID-19. Both the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have issued dozens of warning letters to companies making claims about their products’ ability to treat or prevent COVID-19. 

NAD initially referred this case to the FDA and FTC for review because the advertiser did not respond to NAD’s request to provide substantiation for its claims. However, following this referral, Vitamin Bounty subsequently returned to NAD and agreed to participate in the advertising self-regulatory forum. 

In its response to NAD, the advertiser voluntarily discontinued the social media post in question, as well as additional social media posts on Facebook, which made similar implied claims about the ability of Vitamin Bounty Elderberry Immune Support to boost immunity to treat COVID-19.  

NAD appreciates that advertiser’s permanent discontinuance of the challenged advertisements and its commitment to avoid making any express or implied claims that promote its product’s ability to protect consumers against COVID-19. 

In its advertiser’s statement, Vitamin Bounty stated that it “accepts NAD’s decision in its entirety and has discontinued the advertising in question.” 

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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

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
Blog

Pursuing Best Practices For Representation In Advertising

As advertising volume increases, so too do people’s expectations of representation in advertising. Unfortunately, advertising collectively is still falling short, and consumer perceptions reflect that. Why answer this call from consumers? And what is being done about it?
Read more
 

 

 

Decisions

Vitamin Bounty Voluntarily Discontinues Social Media Posts for Elderberry Immune Support Following NAD Inquiry into Implied COVID-19 Messages

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

703.247.9330 / press@bbbnp.org  

New York, NY – October 13, 2020 – Following an inquiry by the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs, Vitamin Bounty/Matherson Organics, LLC (“Vitamin Bounty”) discontinued Instagram and Facebook social media posts for its Vitamin Bounty Elderberry Immune Support, which conveyed implied messages about boosting immunity to protect users against, or treat, COVID-19. 

Through its routine monitoring program, NAD challenged Vitamin Bounty’s Instagram post for Elderberry Immune Support with the text:  

  • “[a]s restrictions are gradually lifting, it’s more important than ever to keep your immune system strong. Our Elderberry Immune Support keeps you protected with vitamin C, zinc, elderberries, garlic and echinacea; a powerful immune-boosting combo.” 


Health and safety concerns are a top priority for NAD’s monitoring efforts, with particular attention currently focused on advertising for dietary supplements and other products claiming to treat COVID-19. NAD noted that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have both stated that there are no approved vaccines, drugs, or investigational products currently available to treat or prevent COVID-19. Both the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have issued dozens of warning letters to companies making claims about their products’ ability to treat or prevent COVID-19. 

NAD initially referred this case to the FDA and FTC for review because the advertiser did not respond to NAD’s request to provide substantiation for its claims. However, following this referral, Vitamin Bounty subsequently returned to NAD and agreed to participate in the advertising self-regulatory forum. 

In its response to NAD, the advertiser voluntarily discontinued the social media post in question, as well as additional social media posts on Facebook, which made similar implied claims about the ability of Vitamin Bounty Elderberry Immune Support to boost immunity to treat COVID-19.  

NAD appreciates that advertiser’s permanent discontinuance of the challenged advertisements and its commitment to avoid making any express or implied claims that promote its product’s ability to protect consumers against COVID-19. 

In its advertiser’s statement, Vitamin Bounty stated that it “accepts NAD’s decision in its entirety and has discontinued the advertising in question.” 

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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.     

 

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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