NARB Refers Advertising Claims Made by J-B Weld Company to Federal Trade Commission After Company Declines to Comply with NARB Recommendations

New York, NY – Aug. 28, 2019 The National Advertising Review Board (NARB) has referred advertising claims made by J-B Weld Company, LLC to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for review after the company declined to comply with NARB’s recommendations regarding discontinuation of “Made in USA” advertising claims made on certain product packaging and in online advertisements for its silicon and epoxy adhesive products.

The advertising at issue had been challenged by Illinois Tool Works, Inc., a competing manufacturer, before the National Advertising Division (NAD).  The NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is a division of the BBB NP’s self-regulatory and dispute resolution programs.

In its decision, NAD determined that caps, tubes, syringes and/or applicators are part of the “product” rather than the packaging and that consumers viewing the “Made in USA” claim on J-B Weld packaging are likely to believe that these components contain little or no foreign content. The NARB panel agreed with NAD and concluded that a sufficient number of reasonable consumers would consider the caps, tubes, syringes and/or applicators to be part of the “product” covered by the advertiser’s domestic-origin claims.  Among other issues, the panel was persuaded by the prominence on the packaging for the epoxy products of the promotion of the “RE-SEALABLE/NO WASTE CAP,” thus demonstrating the importance of the cap to consumers.

After considering whether J-B Weld provided a reasonable basis for its “Made in USA” claims, the NARB panel agreed with NAD’s conclusion that the percentage of the total manufacturing cost represented by the foreign content was necessary to support a domestic-origin claim and that, because the advertiser declined to submit the relevant cost data, the claims are not properly supported.  Therefore, the NARB panel recommended that J-B Weld discontinue the claims “Made in USA,” “Made in the USA,” and “they have always been made in the USA.”

J-B Weld stated that it “declines to adopt the NARB’s recommendations” and that it “believes that its Made in the U.S.A. advertising is adequately substantiated in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.”  It based its position on information not in the NAD/NARB record, either because it was only available after the record closed or because of confidentiality concerns.  

Given J-B Weld’s decision not to comply with the NARB Panel’s recommendations, NARB is referring the advertising to an appropriate government agency (in this case the Federal Trade Commission) for possible enforcement action.Note: A recommendation by NAD or NARB to modify or discontinue a claim is not a finding of wrongdoing and an advertiser’s voluntary discontinuance or modification of claims should not be construed as an admission of impropriety. It is the policy of NAD not to endorse any company, product, or service. Decisions finding that advertising claims have been substantiated should not be construed as endorsements.