The National Advertising Division (NAD), an investigative unit of the U.S. advertising industry’s system of self-regulation, has referred to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) an ad campaign for Danisa “Traditional Butter Cookies,” which are manufactured by the Mayora Group in Indonesia and distributed by Takari International, Inc. NAD evaluated the campaign in April 2015 after Campbell Soup Co. challenged several aspects of the product’s marketing, including the claim that the cookies are “produced and packed in Denmark” and “baked following the original recipe from Denmark,” as well as the use of Scandinavian imagery. Further, Campbell argued that FDA requires any product labeled as “Butter Cookies” to use only butter as a shortening ingredient, but multiple independent studies have shown the presence of a non-butter fat ingredient in the Danisa product.
Takari International argued it could not be liable for packaging claims or discrepancies in the ingredients, but NAD disagreed, recommending Takari discontinue the challenged claims. While noting its objections, the company agreed to stop advertising the product and promised to stop purchasing the cookies in the future. During NAD’s later compliance inquiry, Takari told the board that the product is “a completely new product” not reviewed by NAD. The board found that Takari “failed to provide NAD with any substantiation of this fact—save for anecdotal evidence,” and the product continued to feature “Danish costumers, crowns, and other Scandinavian settings that NAD recommended be discontinued.” Accordingly, the board referred the marketing campaign to FDA and FTC for further review.