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12 June 2020
The National Advertising Division (NAD) recently announced new procedures to resolve straightforward digital advertising disputes in a matter of weeks. The new procedures – called the SWIFT process – represent a new way for advertisers to enforce against their competitors' (or defend their own) influencer marketing practices.
The NAD is a self-regulatory body housed within the Better Business Bureau that offers an alternative venue for dispute resolution among advertisers beyond the federal courts, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), or state regulators. Usual NAD proceedings last several months. To streamline the time to reach a decision, NAD recently developed new SWIFT (Single Well-defined Issue Fast Track) procedures to contend with single-issue claims such as:
As the program develops, NAD may permit additional types of claims in a SWIFT challenge.
As these types of claims should not require complex substantiation, NAD will strive to complete its review and issue a decision within 20 business days. A challenged advertiser has an opportunity to object to a SWIFT proceeding, and, if the NAD agrees, to have the matter transferred to the standard NAD track. Appeals of NAD SWIFT decisions can be taken to the National Advertising Review Board, also part of the Better Business Bureau.
Advertisers should note that refusal to participate in NAD proceedings often results in referral to the FTC, who takes these referrals seriously as a way to promote advertising industry self-regulation.
More information on the SWIFT process can be found here.
Advertisers who rely heavily on social media influencers should take note. If cease & desist correspondence with a competitor fails to address your concerns, the NAD's new SWIFT process may provide a useful avenue to escalate your dispute on an accelerated schedule.
For further information on this topic please contact Julia Anne Matheson or Brendan Quinn at Hogan Lovells by telephone (+1 202 637 5600) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). The Hogan Lovells website can be accessed at www.hoganlovells.com.
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