The mission of the National Advertising Division® (NAD®) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) is to review national advertising for truthfulness and accuracy and foster public confidence in the credibility of advertising. Policy and procedures for NAD are established by the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council(ASRC).
Find more information about CBBB's NAD staff here.
NAD provides a low-cost alternative to litigation
National advertisers who use the NAD process find it to be significantly less expensive than litigation. By utilizing NAD, cost-conscious companies save hundreds of thousands of dollars typically spent seeking reparation through the courts.
NAD provides a quick and private process
NAD adheres to a strict timetable; providing a written decision within 60 business days. Companies can expect advertising challenges to be resolved while the ad campaign is still running. And, unlike judicial files, NAD keeps confidential all data it receives in reviewing a case. The challenger's and advertiser's positions, NAD's decision and a statement by the advertiser are made public.
NAD settles disputes fairly and effectively
NAD uses a unique, hybrid form of alternative dispute resolution, working closely with in-house counsel, marketing executives, research and development departments and outside consultants to decide whether claims have been substantiated. Each party to the dispute has ample opportunity to explain its position and provide supporting data.
NAD attorneys are experts in advertising review
The advertising review specialists at NAD are experienced attorneys with expertise in claims substantiation, advertising and trade regulation, litigation and arbitration.
NAD helps to ensure a level playing field
Government regulation is usually costly and burdensome. NAD has earned the respect of consumers and regulators alike for providing an effective, successful self-regulatory mechanism. Advertisers' willingness to support NAD and voluntarily adhere to its decisions helps to ensure an honest and open playing field in advertising.
As we enter the Information Age, it becomes more and more difficult to monitor the message content of advertisements. Businesses are encouraged to use the NAD to voice their concerns about potentially misleading national advertising claims.
NAD reviews only national advertisements -- those ads disseminated on a nationwide or broadly regional basis. The advertising may be placed on broadcast or cable television, in radio, magazines and newspapers, on the Internet or commercial on-line services, or provided direct to the home or office. Product performance claims, superiority claims against competitive products and all kinds of scientific and technical claims in national advertising are the types of cases accepted by the NAD. NAD is not the appropriate forum to address concerns about the "good taste" of ads, moral questions about products that are offered for sale or political or issue advertising.
Local advertising, which NAD does not review, appears only within the cities and towns served by local businesses (or local branches of national chains). If a complaint involves local advertising or local business practices, such as payment and refund problems, delays in delivery, or "bait and switch" tactics, the best qualified self-regulatory organization to contact is the Better Business Bureau (BBB) located nearest to the advertiser's address. A consumer can speed action on a local advertising complaint by calling the BBB directly.
For a complete listing of procedures for NAD and other Council of Better Business Bureau advertising self-regulation programs go to Procedures.
To file a challenge: No special form is needed to bring advertising to NAD's attention, but it is helpful to remember the following:
1. Put the query or complaint in writing;
2. Enclose originals or photocopies of newspaper or magazine ads. If the advertising was on radio or television, be specific about the name of the product and company, the claims at issue, and where and when the advertisement appeared;
3. All challenges, including any supporting documentation, must be submitted in duplicate hard copy and in an electronic format (including evidentiary exhibits when possible.) To help ensure a timely review, challengers should strive to limit the length of their submissions to 8 double-spaced typewritten pages (excluding evidentiary exhibits) and limit the number of issues raised in a challenge to those that are the most significant.
4. All challenges made by companies and/or competitors shall be filed together with a check (see below for amount), made payable to the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc., as a filing fee to help defray some of the administrative costs associated with the advertising review process.
(i) CBBB National Partner Filing Fees – Competitive challenges submitted to NAD by CBBB National Partners shall be filed with a check, made payable to the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc., in the amount of $5,000.
(ii) Non-CBBB National Partner Filing Fees – Competitive challenges submitted to NAD by businesses that are not CBBB Corporate Partners shall be filed with a check, made payable to the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc., for:
(a) $6,000, if the challenger’s gross annual revenue is $400 million or less;
(b) $10,000, if the challenger’s gross annual revenue is more than $400 million and less than $1 billion;
(c) $20,000, if the challenger’s gross annual revenue is $1 billion or more. The filing fee shall be accompanied by a statement indicating the category into which the challenger’s revenues fall. In the case of a challenge filed by a subsidiary, the filing fee is determined by the gross annual revenue of the parent company.
5. If a case is opened but subsequently closed administratively (i.e., in accordance with procedures but without a substantive determination), the filing fee will total $1500 for CBBB members and $2500 for non-members. (The difference between the initial filing fee and the administrative closing fees will be refunded to the challenging party).
Mail your letter and supporting materials to:
The Director, National Advertising Division
Council of Better Business Bureaus
112 Madison Ave., 3rd Fl. New York, NY 10016
Your letter will be promptly acknowledged and you will be informed of NAD's action. If a formal investigation is conducted, you will be provided with a copy of the NAD's decision.