Category Archives: Ad Watchers

Welcome to The Ad Watchers! Join National Advertising Division attorneys on this podcast as they explore advertising claims and what it means to put them to the truthfulness test.

Revisiting Consumer Reviews: Incentivized, Inflated, or Authentic?

In this episode of Ad Watchers, the hosts discuss the topic of consumer reviews and the actions taken by the National Advertising Division (NAD) to ensure their accuracy. They highlight several recent NAD cases related to consumer reviews, including challenges to claims made by Proz hair care products, MyPatriot Supply, Goose Creek candles, and Dr. Squatch. The hosts also provide tips for advertisers on collecting and using reviews, such as ensuring reviews are representative, disclosing incentives, and not inflating star ratings.

Key Takeaways

  • (00:30) Consumer reviews have become an important part of the purchasing process. In the digital age, consumers heavily rely on reviews to inform their buying decisions. The feedback provided by other consumers offers valuable insights into product quality and performance.
  • (6:45) NAD has been actively involved in reviewing claims related to consumer reviews. The National Advertising Division (NAD) diligently scrutinizes advertisements that make assertions based on consumer reviews. NAD takes decisive action against advertisers found guilty of disseminating deceptive or misleading claims.
  • (9:10) Advertisers should not take actions that distort or misrepresent consumer opinions. Distorting or misrepresenting consumer opinions, even if disguised as endorsements, erodes trust and damages brand reputation. Upholding integrity in representing consumer sentiments is paramount for fostering long-term relationships and brand loyalty.
  • (18: 58) Advertisers should be mindful of how reviews are collected and counted. Advertisers must ensure that the methodology used for collecting and tallying reviews is transparent and unbiased. It’s crucial for reviews to accurately reflect the sentiments of the target demographic to maintain credibility
  • (19:34) Incentives for reviews should be disclosed, and star ratings should be representative. Transparency regarding incentives for reviews is essential to maintain trust and credibility with consumers. Star ratings should accurately mirror the overall sentiment of all reviews, providing an unbiased assessment of product performance.

Endorsements & Testimonials – So What’s New?

In this episode of Ad Watchers, hosts Eric Unis and Annie Ugurlayan, attorneys at the National Advertising Division (NAD), revisit the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Endorsement Guides. Given the recent updates to the Guides, the Ad Watchers have refreshed the tips and best practices from Season One for ensuring ad law compliance when using influencers, endorsements, and testimonials in your advertising campaigns. 

This episode presents recent cases before the National Advertising Division (NAD) demonstrating the issues outlined in the FTC’s Endorsement Guides and for each case, outlines the best practices you should follow to stay off the radar of the FTC and NAD.

Some Key Takeaways from today’s episode:

  1. (1:28) Endorsements and Testimonials Integrity: Endorsements and testimonials are essential elements of advertising but must authentically represent the genuine opinions of the endorser. Any material connections between the endorser and the advertiser must be transparently disclosed, ensuring honesty and integrity in consumer communication.
  2. (7:51) Combating Fake Reviews and Influencer Misuse: Addressing the prevalence of fake reviews and the misuse of influencers, including animal influencers, is crucial in maintaining the credibility and trustworthiness of advertising channels. Regulators and industry stakeholders must collaborate to establish stringent measures to mitigate these issues and uphold the integrity of consumer information.
  3. (14:11) Transparency in Review Sites: Review sites play a significant role in consumer decision-making, and it’s essential that they transparently disclose whether rankings and reviews are advertisements or independent assessments. Such transparency empowers consumers to make informed choices while safeguarding against misleading advertising practices.
  4. (19:00) Clear and Conspicuous Disclosures: Transparency is key in consumer communication, necessitating clear and conspicuous disclosures visible across all devices. These disclosures should be positioned in the same location and format as the endorsement, ensuring consumers readily recognize affiliations between the endorser and the advertiser.

For more information, visit: NAD FAQs

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What is the Appeal of an Appeal? Getting to Know NARB

In this episode of Ad Watchers, your hosts discuss a critical link in the chain of advertising industry self regulation: the National Advertising Review Board, or NARB, the appellate body for National Advertising Division cases. 

This episode welcomes NARB Chair and Vice-Chair, Ken Plevan and Heather Hippsley, as well as NARB Manager, Saveeta Dhanai, to discuss the voluntary appeal process, an overview of the distinguished board of experienced industry professionals that hear appealed cases, and some important practices to keep in mind when taking your case to the NARB. 

For more information about this episode, read the show notes here

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The NAD Top 10 — Did you know?

In this episode of Ad Watchers, hosts Dan and Annie take you behind the scenes of the U.S. system of self-regulation in the advertising industry and discuss some of the myths, the misconceptions, and misunderstandings advertisers have.

This episode presents the Top Ten things the National Advertising Division (NAD) wants to make sure you know about ad law and the NAD process, valuable for new and seasoned practitioners with the goal to make the self-regulatory forum user friendly, fair, and efficient and effective.

For more information about this episode, read the show notes here.

A Different Playing Field. How is Advertising to Kids Different?

In 1974, NAD’s sister program, the Children’s Advertising Review Unit, or CARU, was established to monitor an area of national advertising not covered by NAD: the unique children’s marketplace. CARU’s role? To protect children under 13 from advertising that is misleading, inappropriate, or inconsistent with laws and guidelines.

In this episode of Ad Watchers, hosts Dan and Annie talk with Rukiya Bonner, the new Director of CARU, to discuss the nuances of monitoring this evolving marketplace.

For more information about this episode, read the show notes here.