The National Advertising Division expressed displeasure about the promotional activities of both parties involved in a decision by the self-regulatory body.
In the underlying dispute, Kohler challenged environmental claims made by Generac, its rival generator manufacturer. After the NAD recommended that Generac cease making certain claims, Kohler contacted customers directly with information regarding the NAD’s findings.
That communication represented a promotional purpose, the NAD said, and therefore violated the industry self-regulatory procedures that prohibit a party from promoting the outcome of a case.
Kohler’s attorney told the NAD that the violation was unintentional.
Just a few weeks later – and after complaining about Kohler’s behavior – the NAD said Generac similarly violated the procedures by issuing a lengthy communication to customers.
The statement “omitted key information about NAD’s findings, mischaracterizing the outcome,” the NAD said in its press release about Generac’s misbehavior.
“The self-regulatory process requires fair dealing on the part of all parties,” the NAD said. “The procedures that govern the self-regulatory system and the participation agreements signed by all parties make clear that parties are prohibited from using NAD decisions for promotional purposes.”
To read the NAD’s press release about Generac, click here.
To read the NAD’s press release about Kohler, click here.
Why it matters: The NAD expressed its displeasure with both parties in the case. “Manipulation of the self-regulatory system is unseemly and inappropriate. We offer a user-friendly forum, where parties can expeditiously resolve their advertising claims’ disputes,” Andrea Levine, the NAD’s Director, said in a statement. “It reflects poorly on those who use the system for commercial advantage.”