Tag Archives: Ad Watchers

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

Contact Information: programs@bbbnp.org

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.

Episode Show Notes: The NAD Top 10 — Did you know?

On this episode of the Ad Watchers dynamic duo, Annie Ugurlayan and Dan Range decide to address misperceptions and misconceptions about the National Advertising Division (NAD). As the Assistant Director and an attorney of the program, the two tackle the top 10 of the most common misunderstandings that new and not-so-new participants tend to have about NAD and the challenge process.

Annie admits to listeners that their list may not be as exciting as David Letterman’s top 10 list from Sioux City, Iowa; however, Dan ensures that their top 10 will be on par. Dan kicks us off with the number one source of confusion that participants in NAD proceedings often have. That boils down to understanding the scope of NAD’s review.

2:35- To begin, Dan reminds listeners that NAD looks at truth and accuracy. Since advertising is all about messaging, NAD seeks to understand the intent behind an advertiser’s message to the consumer. What is the advertiser conveying to its audience? Then NAD looks to answer whether the message is true or false. With that being the case, Dan advises challengers to identify the specific messages or claims they are challenging, both express and implied.

Continue reading Episode Show Notes: The NAD Top 10 — Did you know?

Episode Show Notes: Where is the Line Between Ethical Design and Dark Patterns?

0:00-1:26 This Ad Watchers episode provides insight into “Dark Patterns.” Coined by Harry Brignull in 2010, the term “dark patterns” is used to describe design practices that trick or manipulate users into making choices they would not otherwise have made, and that may cause harm. Eric Unis, Senior Attorney at the National Advertising Division (NAD), and his colleague Annie Ugurlayan, NAD’s Assistant Director, are joined by guest Deputy Director Katherine Armstrong. Katherine is a deputy director of the National Advertising Division (NAD) at BBB National Programs. She manages NAD attorneys and the overall case management and handling of monitoring and competitor-challenged truth-in-advertising cases, supporting long-term operations planning for the 50-year-old program.

Continue reading Episode Show Notes: Where is the Line Between Ethical Design and Dark Patterns?