The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs recently recommended disclosure of the affiliate relationships between Renue by Science, LLC (Jacksonville, FL) and third-party websites promoting sales of its dietary supplements be modified. NAD also recommended that Renue by Science modify or discontinue certain YouTube videos that it considered “challenged,” to disclose the advertiser’s relationship to the speaker consistent with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
In a Fast-Track SWIFT challenge, IO Law LLC alleged that Renue by Science failed to properly disclose material connections in its influencer marketing and incentivized reviews. Fast-Track SWIFT is an expedited challenge process designed for single-issue advertising cases brought to NAD.
Renue by Science sells dietary supplements including those containing nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), quercetin and resveratrol and markets those products on its website, affiliated editorial websites, and via YouTube videos published by affiliated endorsers, according to NAD.
During the challenge, the Foodsecurity.org website, a third-party with whom Renue by Science has an affiliate relationship, was modified, which NAD found was sufficiently prominent, however NAD recommended that it be further modified to identify the advertiser (or other applicable unrelated brands) with an affiliate relationship to the website and to more clearly identify who is receiving the commissions, rather than using the singular pronoun “I.”
In regard to any other affiliated websites selling Renue by Science’s products, NAD recommended that the sites:
- Clearly and conspicuously disclose that the affiliates receive payments based on sales of Renue by Science’s products; and
- That such disclosures appear at the top of the site’s landing page, where they will be easy to observe wherever the advertiser’s products are promoted.
According to NAD, during the challenge, a Renue by Science employee voluntarily agreed to permanently discontinue a video on her personal YouTube page in which she discusses the benefits of NMN and her experience with NMN. Therefore, NAD did not review this video on its merits.
Regarding another YouTube video on the same employee’s page, NAD said it recommended that Renue by Science inform the employee of her obligation to clearly and conspicuously disclose in the video that she is an employee.
In its advertiser’s statement, Renue by Science stated that it “appreciates the opportunity to participate in NAD’s self-regulatory process,” and that it “has voluntarily complied with the NAD’s recommendations.”
“As a private organization, other than issuing a press release, NAD does not have authority to fine or otherwise enforce its determinations,” explained Steven Shapiro, who is of counsel to Rivkin Radler LLP and a partner of Ullman, Shapiro & Ullman, LLP. “However, the FTC is publicly supportive of industry self-regulation and will give priority to referrals from NAD concerning advertisers and marketers that refuse to participate or comply with NAD decisions.
“So, if an entity refuses to participate in an NAD challenge, and/or refuses to comply with a determination they are likely to quickly find themselves dealing with FTC.”
For more information, visit https://bbbprograms.org/OnlineArchive.