Questionable claims get increased scrutiny, with co-operation from competitors
Steven Mister, president and CEO; and Marjorie Fine, chair, board of directors at the Council for Responsible Nutrition, discuss the latest developments in the National Advertising Division (NAD) programme at the recent CRN conference in Phoenix, Arizona.
SM: It's the outlandish advertising of a few that poses the biggest risk to this industry. Even people who don't take supplements see the ads that overpromise and hype the products. And that hurts the credibility of all the products that can and do deliver on their claims. This programme gives responsible members a chance to hold those companies accountable without having to go to a government agency, or going to court.
MF: But this programme only works if competitors are willing to illuminate advertising that goes too far. In fact, the NAD review may actually help to prevent a fully fledged government investigation.
SM: That's right. In fact, the NAD recently was reviewing an advertisement for a supplement, and at the same time a consumer group filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about the same ad. The NAD determined that most of what was said in the ad was truthful, and the advertiser voluntarily agreed to modify the claims that raised questions for the NAD. So in this case, the advertiser may have actually avoided a full-blown FTC investigation because it was able to change the ad based on the NAD review before it got to that level.
MF: That's exactly the kind of responsibility that the CRN is trying to promote.