WASHINGTON, D.C., September 19, 2012—The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the dietary supplement industry’s leading trade association, has developed a free, searchable compilation of all dietary supplement advertising decisions issued by the National Advertising Division (NAD) since 2007 when the Dietary Supplement Advertising Review Program began. NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s self-regulatory system and is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. The search tool, which is available at no charge on CRN’s website, was created to assist dietary supplement companies in avoiding misleading, non-substantiated or deceptive advertising claims.
According to Rend Al-Mondhiry, regulatory counsel, CRN, who coordinates the association’s self-regulatory advertising program with the NAD, “This searchable database provides a snapshot of the kinds of claims that are being challenged. We believe that savvy marketers will view this compilation as a service to the industry, using it as a proactive starting point to compare their own advertising claims with those that have raised red flags, and adjust their claims accordingly before drawing the attention of the NAD, or possibly the Federal Trade Commission. Our ultimate goal for the dietary supplement industry is to weed out deceptive claims, and if we can do this as part of a self-regulatory effort, that’s even better.”
The searchable spreadsheet provides access to a descriptive compilation of over 140 challenges reviewed by the NAD. It is searchable by supplement category; product name; advertiser; and the types of claims made. Companies that find trends relevant to their own product lines and marketing can get quick summaries of the cases or subscribe to the NAD’s case reports to get the full decisions.
“This is the most recent effort by CRN to encourage the supplement industry to become more proactive by protecting its consumers and itself through self-regulatory programs that make us a stronger industry,” said CRN President & CEO Steve Mister. “Consumers need to know they can trust our industry’s advertising, and we all have an important role to play in making that possible. CRN and our member companies have invested both significant staff time and funding to create a program that has been cited by the FTC as ‘an excellent example of self-regulation’.”
CRN’s program with the NAD began in 2006 when the association began providing a series of grants to enable the NAD to expand its oversight program covering dietary supplement advertisements. The grants from CRN, totaling nearly $1.5 million over eight years have allowed the NAD to increase the number of dietary supplement cases it examines. The initiative provides companies with a forum for the prompt, voluntary discontinuance of misleading or unsubstantiated advertising claims, encouraging fair competition within the industry while providing a cost-effective and rapid resolution process allowing advertisers the opportunity to comment, withdraw and/or correct advertising.