AAO to end ad campaign after deemed unfair to SmileDirectClub platform

The National Advertising Division of BBB National Programs has recommended that the American Association of Orthodontists discontinue advertising that may imply that SmileDirectClub's platform is risky and its retail stores lack on-site medical professionals.

AAO's Happy Mouth Now advertising campaign — four videos and a related microsite — was created to raise public awareness of the risks tied to direct-to-consumer and do-it-yourself orthodontics.

The advertising claims were challenged by SmileDirectClub, a teledentistry platform that allows consumers to straighten their teeth using clear plastic aligners from home.

NAD reviewed the four videos, each of which ends with AAO's name and the tagline "some things are best left to the professionals," and the microsite to determine whether such messages were properly supported.

NAD determined that the four videos and microsite did imply claims that were not properly supported, including:

  • Teledentistry platform is risky, dangerous and ineffective, and that medical professionals aren't involved through SmileDirectClub's treatment process.
  • At-home dentistry kit is difficult to use.
  • Aligner product is ineffective.

The NAD recommended AAO discontinue such advertising.

AAO stated that although it "respectfully disagrees with many of NAD's conclusions, AAO will comply with the NAD's recommendations."

For the full NAD release, click here.

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