In many cases, proper claim substantiation requires that advertisers conduct paid studies. However, if a claim is overly broad, a paid study may be misleading, according to a recent NAD ruling. So. what are NAD disclosure requirements for paid studies?
Static on the Line
Liberty Mobile Puerto Rico claimed in its advertising that it has the best network and the best coverage in Puerto Rico. These claims were based on a paid study conducted by Global Wireless Solutions (GWS), which Liberty called “an independent study” in its advertisements.
T-Mobile, while not taking issue with the study or results, contended that the relationship between Liberty and GWS should be more clearly disclosed, in accordance with the FTC Endorsement Guidelines. During the course of the matter, Liberty changed its disclosure to refer to a study “conducted by GWS paid for by Liberty.” The NAD did not object. Its ruling ultimately included recommendations to ensure that the font of the disclosure is large enough to read, and that the company find a way to direct attention to the disclosure.
The NAD’s statements in this case offer help to advertisers on NAD disclosure for paid studies. In its ruling the NAD said that Liberty would need to (a) use some mechanism to direct consumers’ attention to the disclosure; (b) place the language at the beginning of the disclosure, rather than at the end; and (c) ensure that the disclosure was large enough to be readable. It also noted that there is nothing unusual about paid endorsements or studies; the key is the disclosure.
Broad claims require proper substantiation and must adhere to guidelines for disclosures set by the FTC. As we see here, the standards for disclosures may also be defined more narrowly by the NAD. MMR Strategy Group are reliable experts in claim substantiation and consultation. Contact us to discuss how we can help you substantiate your claims.