Better Business Bureau has made comprehensive changes to its BBB Code of Advertising to reflect the many new ways advertisers reach consumers via websites, social media, texting and other channels. Every business that advertises in North America is expected to follow BBB’s Code, and compliance is monitored by 112 BBB offices in the U.S. and Canada. Industry self-regulation of truth-in-advertising rules has earned the support of federal regulators who take seriously cases referred to their agencies.
The Code states that “the primary responsibility for truthful and non-deceptive advertising rests with the advertiser” and that advertisers “should be prepared to substantiate any objective claims or offers made before publication or broadcast.” The goal is to make industry self-regulation track with rules to encourage the most honest and ethical marketing by businesses.
One of the most significant changes to the Code is an update to the section on testimonials and endorsements, to reflect the Federal Trade Commission’s current thinking on the use of them in social media. The most noticeable change to the Code is the elimination of the requirement that advertisers include a range of savings whenever an “up to” price savings claim is made (for instance, up to 40%); the Code retains the requirement that at least 10% of the class of items identified in the ad must be offered at 40% off.
All BBBs across North America have Advertising Review Specialists who work with businesses in their service area to help ensure truth-in-advertising in all channels. When BBB learns of an advertisement or questionable marketing claim, it notifies the business and seeks voluntary substantiation, modification or discontinuation of the claim(s) in question. In 2014, BBBs conducted more than 11,000 ad reviews at the local level, and nearly 250 national advertising reviews were conducted by various programs at the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
Originally published at: http://www.bbbchicagoblog.com/blog/2015/02/19/new-bbb-code-advertising/