Ad Expert Calls for Self-Regulation

The industry needs to self-regulate claims in its advertising, Andrea Levine, director of the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau, told attendees at the Jewelers Vigilance Committee’s annual luncheon.
“To the extent, you see advertising, and you see claims you know are untruthful, it is incumbent on you to abolish them,” she said.
Among the claims that could be problem areas:
* Constant sales.
“We all know companies that constantly offer things on sale,” she said. “If consumers see ‘50 percent off,’ that needs to be true.”
* Misleading claims about synthetic stones or simulants.
“People need to make sure what they know what they are buying,” she said. “Clear conspicuous identification is the way to go.”
* Claims of “conflict free’ diamonds.
“People today ‘vote’ with their dollars,” she says. “It is just like with environmental claims. They need to be truthful and accurate.”
Levine notes the National Advertising Department was formed when advertisers faced government regulation because of misleading claims. Instead, the NAD let the industry regulate itself by evaluating the truthfulness of disputed claims. It has a 96% compliance rate, without legal sanction or regulatory authority.