Last week, the Better Business Bureau’s National Advertising Division (NAD) announced a new expedited process for digital advertising challenges.  The SWIFT (Single Well-defined Issue Fast Track) Process will allow businesses to address concerns of transparency and truthfulness on an accelerated basis, with decisions rendered within twenty business days of case initiation.  The SWIFT process is currently limited to challenges involving one of three issues:  the prominence or sufficiency of disclosures, including disclosure issues in influencer marketing, native advertising, and incentivized reviews; misleading pricing and sales claims; and misleading express claims that do not require review of complex evidence or substantiation such as clinical testing or consumer perception evidence.

To facilitate this expedited process, SWIFT challenges are limited to a single issue and permit only one substantive submission per party.  The limitations on the subject matter of the challenge, together with the required timetable for decisions, mean that SWIFT challenges will be resolved on a much quicker timetable than other types of NAD challenges.  Under the standard NAD challenge procedures, both the challenger and advertiser can file two submissions, and the challenge typically takes several months to be resolved.  In addition, NAD has created a new SWIFT portal for electronic submission of filings in SWIFT proceedings.

This fast-track process will allow advertisers to quickly resolve a number of advertising disputes, perhaps most notably those involving rapidly changing digital advertisements such as social media influencer marketing and native advertising.  NAD is actively monitoring SWIFT proceedings and will adjust the process, including potentially expanding it to include other types of challenges, as the program develops.