HEALTH

ERSP: One Smart for Life weight-loss claim okay, but others need modification

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program on Monday determined that Smart For Life had provided adequate support for a “lose up to 15 lbs.” claim for the Smart for Life diet cookie, but recommended the marketer modify the general performance claim and consumer testimonials.

The marketer’s advertising came to ERSP’s attention through routine monitoring of electronic direct-response advertising. ERSP examined claims in print, broadcast and online advertising that included:

  • “Eat Cookies. Lose Weight. It’s that simple.”
  • “Lose up to 15 lbs with our 60% organic all-natural cookies”
  • “Smart cookies control your appetite so you can drop up to 15 lbs a month”
  • “If you want to lose up to 15 lbs a month get Smart for Life Cookies”
  • “I lost 105 lbs with Smart for Life” [Lost 105 lbs in 12 months]
  • “I lost 35 lbs in 3 months by eating cookies” [Lost 35 lbs in 3 months]
  • “Before – Ruth had actually heard about the Smart for Life weight management program a year before she signed up. “I thought ‘Yea right, cookies … how could that be?’” – After she lost 44 lbs. -“I’m so happy! I’m loving my new life!”

In response to ERSP’s inquiry, the company said its diet cookies are a meal-replacement product and clients replace breakfast, lunch and all snacks with six cookies per day and then have a sensible dinner. Product packaging for the Smart for Life diet cookie indicates that one cookie is approximately 105 calories and contains 5 g of protein and 1.5 g of dietary fiber.

The marketer stated that it provides a significant level of support to both the programs and their participants in the form of doctor visits, weigh-ins and, for those people who are unable to travel to the Smart for Life centers, telephone and biweekly conference calls. According to the marketer, the direct response campaign is designed to provide its clients with the opportunity to choose either program.

Following its review, ERSP determined consumers might take away the message that that they could lose weight by doing nothing more than eating the diet cookies, even though it is necessary to eat a low-calorie dinner as well. ERSP recommended the marketer modify its advertising to clearly disclose that a low-calorie dinner also is required.

The self-regulation forum also found that the marketer provided sufficient data to support the core claim that program participants can “Lose up to 15 lbs” eating the Smart for Life diet cookies as a meal replacement for breakfast and lunch and then eating a sensible low-calorie dinner.

However, ERSP did express concerns as to whether the weight-loss results described in consumer testimonials were representative of normal product usage and recommended that the marketer modify consumer testimonials to depict results consistent with those observed in studies conducted by the company.

Smart for Life, in its marketer’s statement, said, “We have previously represented our willingness to voluntarily make changes suggested by ERSP and are pleased to confirm that Smart for Life will in all of its future packaging and advertising make the two changes recommended by ERSP in its final case decision.”

ERSP, the electronic direct-response industry’s self-regulatory forum, is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus with policy oversight by the National Advertising Review Council.

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Pepto-Bismol sponsors hot dog-eating contest

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI Procter & Gamble and Major League Eating on Monday announced that Pepto-Bismol will be the first-ever stomach remedy sponsor of the annual Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest.

“We are very excited to welcome Pepto-Bismol on board as our newest sponsor,” stated George Shea, MLE president and emcee of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. “Pepto-Bismol has been around for more than 100 years, and in the 95 years of the contest, many people have often asked if the competitors experience stomach upsets and whether they use Pepto-Bismol. Nearly every eater does, and so for us, this sponsorship was a natural fit.”

“Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is the ultimate case in point of celebrating the summer with food, so we’re excited to announce our sponsorship of the event,” said Colleen Jay, VP P&G personal health care. “We wanted to show that whether you’ve gone a little overboard on your favorite food or eaten one too many hot dogs at your backyard BBQ this summer, turn to Pepto-Bismol.”

The Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest is an annual event that has become part of America’s Fourth of July celebration. The final event on Coney Island winds through many American cities, with regional qualifier competitions occurring at a variety of Nathan’s Famous retail locations.

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Gaia Herbs’ Professional Solutions becomes EQP gold partner

BY Michael Johnsen

BREVARD, N.C. Gaia Herbs professional division, under the brand name Professional Solutions, on Monday announced its acceptance as a gold partner in the Emerson Quality Program, a voluntary program for the nutritional supplement industry to help facilitate increased awareness of quality.

The objective of the EQP is to provide a convenient information portal for healthcare practitioners interested in recommending dietary supplements to their patients. “The launch of EQP was inspired by the knowledge that medical practitioners spent too much time searching for evidence and independent verification for supplements,” stated Fran Towey, president of Emerson Ecologics. “By making all the data needed to make informed decisions regarding quality and efficacy easily accessible, we have done this homework for them.”

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