Weight-Loss Product Manufacturers Receive FTC Rebuke
This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet
A Federal Trade Commission settlement with the makers of Exercise in a Bottle and Fat Trapper barring the firms from marketing weight-loss products in the future is an example of the agency's willingness to deliver severe punishments against repeat offenders
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The U.K. body regulating advertisements bans the broadcast of commercials for Optislim weight-loss shakes. The ad shows a woman dressed for exercise and stretching, but instead of working out she drinks Optislim. A voice-over says, "Shake fat fast with Optislim three-second work out. Your complete weight-loss solution." Six viewers challenged the ad, saying it implied the product would have the same benefit as exercise. The Advertising Standards Agency says a text disclaimer stating, "when used as part of a calorie-controlled diet and healthy lifestyle," was insufficient to remove the implication that the product could replace exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. The product maker said millions of people saw the ad and few complained, evidence that people were not misled. It added that the advertisement implied the woman got ready for exercise but realized she did not have time, so she drank an Optislim instead. The Federal Trade Commission previously filed orders against U.S. advertisements that claim products can help consumers lose weight without exercising (1"The Tan Sheet" Jan. 24, 2005)
Infomercial producer Modern Interactive Technology has settled FTC charges alleging the firm played an "active role" in writing, editing and producing infomercials for the Enforma System of weight-loss products, the commission announces March 1. The company and principals Mark Levine and David Richmond originally were charged in August 2000, shortly after Enforma Natural Products was charged with making unsubstantiated ad claims for Fat Trapper and Exercise in a Bottle, which comprise the system. The settlement prohibits the firm from "misrepresenting the profession, expertise, training, education, experience, or qualifications of any person who advertises, promotes, or endorses any product, service or program." Enforma Natural Products also recently settled FTC charges in an agreement that bars the company from future marketing of weight-loss products (1"The Tan Sheet" Jan. 24, 2005, p. 12)...
Enforma Natural Products could be hit with civil contempt charges for the third time if FTC determines the firm is making unsubstantiated advertising and marketing claims for its Carb Trapper Plus weight-loss product