NARB ProgramBackgrounds

National Advertising Review Board

The National Advertising Review Board (NARB) is the appellate body for the U.S. system of advertising industry self-regulation. Five-member NARB panels hear cases appealing an NAD or CARU decision and provide independent industry peer review, ensuring truthfulness and accuracy in national advertising and helping promote voluntary compliance of its decisions—a key pillar of industry self-regulation.

Program Impact

NARB, established in 1971 as a fair and impartial appellate body, reviews appealed NAD or CARU decisions. Nominated by various leading organizations in the advertising industry, NARB members are selected for their stature and experience in their fields. 

 

 

Truth & Transparency

When a competitor’s advertising harms consumer trust or threatens a company’s reputation and market share, the advertising self-regulatory system creates a level-playing field for business and helps ensure consumers receive truthful and accurate advertising.

Compliance

After a decision, NARB or the challenger can check in on whether the advertiser has made appropriate modifications to its advertising and has 10 days to respond. The case is closed if there is a good faith effort to bring their advertising into compliance.

Non-Compliance

In cases of lack of good faith efforts to modify or discontinue advertising as a result of a NARB decision, NARB will refer the case to an appropriate government agency, usually the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
 

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.

 

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Guidelines & Procedures


Any advertiser or challenger has the right to appeal NAD’s decision to NARB. An advertiser has an automatic right of appeal. A challenger must request permission to appeal from the NARB chair and explain why it believes there is a substantial likelihood NARB would come to a different conclusion on a case than NAD. 

 

News & Blog

Press Release

FTC Commissioner Alvaro Bedoya to Keynote NAD 2022, Annual Conference of BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division

New York, NY – August 30, 2022 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) will host the NAD 2022 Annual Conference next month in Washington, D.C., on Monday, September 19 and Tuesday, September 20. NAD 2022 will be an in-person event for the first time since 2019, drawing speakers from across the advertising law...

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Press Release

BBB National Programs Announces 85 Distinguished Panel Pool Members for National Advertising Review Board and New Vice Chair

McLean, VA – January 11, 2022 – BBB National Programs today announced the 85 panel pool members of the 2022 National Advertising Review Board, as well as its 2022 vice chair, Heather Hippsley, who retired in 2020 as Deputy General Counsel of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) where, among many senior roles over...

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Pursuing Best Practices For Representation In Advertising

Apr 13, 2022, 09:00 AM by Eric D. Reicin, President & CEO, BBB National Programs
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?

It is estimated that, on average, consumers are presented with up to 10,000 discrete advertisements a day. As this number continues to grow, so too do people’s expectations of representation in advertising. As Facebook IQ described in a recent report on diversity and inclusion in online advertising, “People around the world are demanding to see themselves better represented in advertising. They want to see the true diversity of their communities depicted more often—and more accurately—across many areas, including race, gender, sexual orientation and people with disabilities.”

Unfortunately, advertising collectively is still falling short, and consumer perceptions reflect that. According to Facebook IQ's findings, 54% of consumers do not feel fully represented in online ads. The Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing (AIMM) confirmed this lacking consumer perception in its review of Super Bowl ads: They found 45% of ads had casts that represented diverse and inclusive audiences in the 2021 game telecast. This year, though the official data is not yet analyzed, my observation is that there was an improvement in representation across this year’s Super Bowl commercials.

Why answer this call from consumers? As the U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) put it, the use of harmful stereotypes can "restrict the choices, aspirations, and opportunities of children, young people, and adults, and these stereotypes can be reinforced by some advertising." Guy Parker, chief executive of ASA, also noted, "Put simply, we found that some portrayals in ads can, over time, play a part in limiting people’s potential.

The argument for eliminating harmful representations and increasing positive representations in advertising goes beyond advertising ethics: Many believe that there is a clear business case for better representation. For example, Microsoft, in their study on the effects of inclusion in advertising on Gen-Z specifically, found that 70% of Gen-Z consumers are more trusting of brands that represent diversity in ads, and 49% have stopped purchasing from a brand that did not represent their values.

 

What is being done to address the lack of representation?

Several countries have developed self-regulatory standards that prohibit certain kinds of discrimination in advertising. In addition to standards, many countries are conducting critical research on the harms that unfavorable representations of race and ethnicity can bring about.

The ASA, for example, just released a research report called "Tackling Harmful Racial and Ethnic Stereotyping in Advertising." In addition to defining three broad potential harms that can arise from these problematic portrayals, the report identifies five categories of racial and ethnic stereotypes for advertisers to be aware of and provides helpful guidance to advertisers on how to steer clear of unintentional harm or offense through their depictions of race and ethnicity.

While U.S. law prohibits misleading advertising, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects free speech (among other important and fundamental rights), meaning while an advertisement cannot be prohibited for being offensive, thoughtful advertising decision-makers will remove an ad from the marketplace for being misleading. There is growing recognition that adverse stereotypes can be harmful and misleading; they can contribute to bias and create harmful effects on the stigmatized populations who feel devalued.

AIMM has been working to help the advertising industry make good on its public commitments to diversity through the creation of tools such as the Cultural Insights Impact Measure (CIIM), which examines the impact and effectiveness of cultural insights in ads. Industry-wide movements—like the #SeeAll Campaign, which pushes for more accurate representation of multicultural segments in a greater number of ads—are also having an impact. Beyond these efforts that encourage positive behavior, other organizations, including the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) within my organization, are working to deter problematic behavior in the uniquely vulnerable children’s space and other specific focus areas. CARU recently released new guidelines for responsible advertising, including one that holds companies accountable for negative social stereotyping, prejudice, or discrimination in child-directed advertising.

Given the growing understanding of how stereotypes harm consumers, should independent industry self-regulatory programs expand this work to cover all national advertising?

 

Shifting Expectations

I have seen a shift in expectations for businesses by consumers on this topic in recent years, and this shift suggests the need for a similar shift in the way that businesses act.

For instance, when it comes to getting representation right in advertising, responsible businesses should incorporate practices such as adding prompts during brainstorming sessions to check for bias and help make sure that inclusive ideas are a part of each stage of the process.

In addition, I suggest businesses take advantage of the various tools available to have their ads reviewed before they go live. These reviews help save time and money by assessing the ad's level of representation and diversity before you get to the final cut. Bringing in an outside perspective can be incredibly helpful.

Prioritizing diversity and inclusion and pursuing best practices for representation in advertising is dependent on building good habits. When building those habits internally, never forget that sometimes the best measure can come from collecting consumer feedback on your efforts.

Originally published in Forbes.

 

 

 

Decisions

Decision

National Advertising Review Board Finds Sanofi’s “#1 Doctor Recommended Ingredient” Claims for Zantac 360° Unsubstantiated

New York, NY – November 2, 2022 – A panel of the National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the appellate advertising law body of BBB National Programs, recommended that Sanofi Consumer Healthcare not use claims that Zantac 360° contains, or that famotidine is, “the #1 Doctor Recommended ingredient” or “the #1 Doctor...

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Decision

NARB Finds Glee Gum’s “Plant-Based,” “Made with Chicle,” “Natural,” Claims Supported; Recommends Discontinuance of “Plastic Free” Claims

New York, NY – October 20, 2022 – A panel of the National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the appellate advertising decision body of BBB National Programs, has determined that Mazee, LLC has reasonable support for claims that its Glee Gum is “plant-based,” “made with chicle,” and “natural.” However, the...

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Decision

National Advertising Division Finds Certain HEPA Claims for Shark Air Purifiers Supported; SharkNinja Appeals Recommendation to Modify or Discontinue Others

New York, NY – November 22, 2022 – In a challenge brought by Dyson, Inc., the National Advertising Division (NAD) determined that SharkNinja Operating LLC provided a reasonable basis for claims that its Shark Air Purifier 4 meets or even exceeds HEPA standards but recommended that...

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Decision

NAD Finds Certain Environmental Benefit Claims for ABA’s “Every Bottle Back” Initiative Supported; ABA Appeals Recommendation to Modify Other Claims

New York, NY – November 22, 2022 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) determined that the American Beverage Association (ABA) provided a reasonable basis for certain environmental benefit claims related to its Every Bottle Back program, designed to encourage and increase beverage...

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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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