The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus’ Advertising Self-Regulatory Council (ASRC) has recommended that Chobani, Inc. cease airing what it called “Farmland” commercials, “the centerpiece of the company’s campaign to promote its ‘Simply 100’ Greek yogurt.” A rival yogurt company challenged a number of Chobani TV ads that “featured two ‘farm’ settings—a synthetic farm where ‘other 100-calorie yogurts’ were made from the contents of test tubes and plastic cows were filled with powdered chemicals and a real farm with boxes of fresh fruit and live cows.”

While the ads did not name other yogurt makers or products, the challenger contended that the message conveyed was that its products do not contain real fruit; they are made with fake milk or milk with chemical additives; its Greek yogurt is “entirely artificial, and unwholesome, unhealthful, and/or harmful to consumers”; and Chobani’s product is the best-tasting 100-calorie Greek yogurt. NAD determined that the commercial conveyed a broad, comparative message that competitor products are made with artificial coloring, fruit flavoring and milk, which, as to the challenger’s products is not true, and thus violated NAD standards. NAD also recommended that Chobani revise its Facebook advertising “so that it no longer suggests that most competing 100-calorie products use aspartame.” The company can, however, continue to promote its use of natural sweeteners when compared to the artificial sweeteners in other brands.

While Chobani was disappointed in NAD’s ruling, it reportedly indicated that the “ad has run its scheduled course” and that the company “respects the decisions of the NAD and will consider their recommendation in future campaigns.” See ASRC Press Release, August 21, 2014.