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Archived updates for Wednesday, March 16, 2005

An Alternative Forum for Fighting False Advertising

In an effort to sustain "truth and accuracy in national advertising" through self-regulation, a two-tier system was created by the advertising community in 1971. The National Advertising Review Council, or NARC, now consists of the National Advertising Division of the Council of the Better Business Bureaus, Inc., the "NAD;" and the National Advertising Review Board, the "NARB."

The NAD is the investigative body, while the NARB is the appeals body of the system. When an advertiser or challenger disagrees with NAD's findings, NAD's decision can be appealed to the NARB for additional review. The advertiser (whose ad claims are in question) has an automatic right to a review by an NARB panel, however, the complainant (also referred to as the challenger) must have approval from NARB's chairman. The NARB Chairman will only grant a challenger's request for an appeal if he determines that there is a likelihood that a NARB panel would reach a decision different from NAD's decision.

"Three-quarters of the complaints it hears come from marketers," James R. Guthrie, President and Chief Executive at the Council reportedly told the New York Times on December 29, 2004. Marketers that do not win appeals, or that do not ultimately comply with the recommendation, are reportedly "referred to the Federal Trade Commission for government scrutiny."

According to their website, the NARC benefits advertising in at least 10 ways:
  1. Litigation Alternative
  2. Public Criticism Forum
  3. Reduce Government Intervention
  4. Level Playing Field
  5. Cutting-Edge Response
  6. Build Brand Loyalty
  7. Trend Identification
  8. Lower Costs
  9. Strengthen Self-Regulation
  10. Target "Hot Spots"
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