The program monitors, reviews and challenges dietary supplement advertisements, in print, broadcast, infomercials and on the internet. According to NAD, companies comply with recommendations more than 90% percent of the time; however those companies that ignore NAD guidance are publicly referred to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or other law enforcement agencies.
Commenting on the program, Edith Ramirez¸ FTC Chairwoman, said: “I would like to congratulate the Council for Better Business Bureaus’ National Advertising Division and the Council for Responsible Nutrition on the success of their 10-year partnership. The CRN/NAD initiative shows just how impactful meaningful self-regulation can be,” she said.
“With 250 cases challenging misleading and unsubstantiated claims for dietary supplements, the program has been a valuable complement to the FTC’s own enforcement efforts to eliminate fraud in this industry.”
Of the 252 total cases reviewed by the program, 24 have been referred to FTC or other agencies for enforcement (as of January 2016).
‘The cornerstone of a maturing industry’
C. Lee Peeler, president and CEO of the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council, which sets the policies and procedures for NAD, and EVP, Council of Better Business Bureaus, said in a press release that self-regulatory programs such as the CRN/NAD program are the cornerstone of a maturing industry.
The program is funded through a series of grants from CRNF, and executed by the NAD, a service of the advertising industry administered through the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB).
CRNF has provided grants through 2017, totaling more than $2.1 million since the program’s inception.
“Many industry sectors profess their support for truthful advertising, but only a few—like CRN—have stepped forward to make that a reality,” said Peeler.
“Ten years ago, CRNF took a leadership role in working with us to create a program that would be independent, transparent, and a cornerstone of this industry’s commitment to putting its consumers first. We commend all the companies who have come to the table, either by submitting challenges, or by participating in the review process. I’m proud to point to this program as representative of what self-regulation is all about.”
“This program is unique in the dietary supplement industry, and in fact, among many industries,” said Steve Mister, president, CRNF. “I am proud of our companies’ commitment and encouraged by their ongoing support of this effort, and feel gratified that the program has been embraced by the industry.
“NAD sets the bar high for self-regulation and our member companies greatly appreciate its work and what that has meant to the dietary supplement industry.”
TV & print vs online
Mister told us that there continues to be a decline in the truly fraudulent print and network television advertising. "Of course there are still some late night infomercials that attract the attention of the NAD.
"But we are seeing the majority of the really outrageous ads have migrated to the Internet. We are encouraged that in addition to the NAD program, online retailers are starting to police claims on their sites as well. So we hope that the NAD program along with more scrutiny from retailers and the attention of the FTC will lead to fewer fraudulent ads."
CRN launched a free, searchable database in 2012 of all the cases investigated by the CRNF-NAD program to provide a snapshot of the kinds of claims that are being challenged.
The database can be accessed HERE.