—Partners with Industry Magazines to Help Clean Up Supplement Advertising—
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 30, 2007 — The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association for the dietary supplement industry, today announced a new advertising campaign to encourage supplement companies to file competitive challenges with the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB). The advertising campaign supports the CRN/NAD initiative announced last September that allows NAD to increase its scrutiny of dietary supplement advertisements through a series of multi-year grants provided by CRN.
CRN is partnering with four trade magazines that cover the dietary supplement industry and share the association’s concern that supplement advertising must be truthful and not misleading in order for the supplement industry to maintain and grow its loyal base of customers. In support of the advertising campaign, the media partners have provided CRN with special advertising rates in order to draw attention to the self-regulatory initiative. Beginning with June issues and running through September, the ad will run in: Functional Foods & Nutraceuticals; Natural Products Insider; Nutraceuticals World; and Nutritional Outlook. In addition, CRN will run one insertion in The Tan Sheet.
The ad, which was created and produced in-house, is headlined: “There’s A New Sheriff In Town: You” and tagged with “We’re Aiming to Clean Up Our Industry.” Using a graphic of a silhouetted businessman in a cowboy hat, the ad urges supplement companies to file a competitive challenge with NAD if they “…see a supplement ad that’s misleading, untruthful, or includes claims that can’t be substantiated.”
According to Steve Mister, president and CEO, CRN, “The single greatest threat to our industry results from the outrageous claims made by a few companies that consumers associate with the entire category. We’re gratified that these four publications have joined us in this effort to help clean up our industry’s advertising. Now it’s up to individual supplement companies to take action. Part of being a responsible industry is self-policing those members who push the envelope too far.”
The publications partnering with CRN welcome the program because they find themselves under pressure to accept advertisements that may not meet their own standards. Don McLemore, vice president of Standards, New Hope Natural Media, advised his company consistently applies both Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations in evaluating the entire context of all advertisements submitted to Functional Foods & Nutraceuticals and the other New Hope publications. But he acknowledges, “If an advertiser’s misleading ad is turned down by us, they’ll just look for another publication, potentially hurting our business. Hopefully, through the NAD program and CRN’s efforts, more walls will go up for companies making untruthful claims, and the playing field for purchasing ads will be leveled.”
Steve Lipscomb, associate publisher, Nutraceuticals World, noted that his publication has always sought to champion what is good about the industry, but also calls attention to challenges that hold the industry back. “But, we cannot always be the ‘Ad Police,’” said Mr. Lipscomb. “A program like this reminds companies they also need to take responsibility and recognize that blatantly false claims by a few bad actors harm the greater percentage of responsible manufacturers.”
Ultimately this effort will reward both consumers and the companies that make supplement products, said Jim Wagner, publisher, Nutritional Outlook. “We’re supporting CRN’s leadership efforts on this project because the industry can only thrive if consumers understand that the vast majority of advertisers adhere to good standards, and that those companies that don’t will face consequences.”
The advertising campaign is part of an overall marketing effort which involves presentations, both by CRN and NAD, at a series of conferences. As the program builds, CRN intends to broadly reach out to consumer publications and advertising agencies, asking for their support in taking responsibility for the ads they accept and the ads they produce.
In addition, fact sheet flyers explaining the CRN/NAD program and CRN’s advertising campaign will be distributed on Capitol Hill as part of CRN’s efforts to communicate to Congress that the mainstream supplement industry understands the importance of self-regulation.
“Responsible supplement companies support regulation by both the FDA and the FTC,” said Mr. Mister. “CRN member companies, now supported by the industry trade magazines, are going beyond what’s required to do what’s needed.”
Note to Editor: The dietary supplement category includes vitamins, minerals, botanicals, sports nutrition supplements, weight management products, and specialty supplements such as omega-3s and glucosamine/chondroitin. The dietary supplement industry is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission, as well as by government agencies in each of the 50 states.
The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing dietary supplement industry ingredient suppliers and manufacturers. CRN members voluntarily adhere to a strong code of ethics, comply with dosage limits and manufacture dietary supplements to high quality standards under good manufacturing practices.
For more information on the CRN/NAD program, visit http://www.crnusa.org/NAD.
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