NAD Recommends Advertiser Modify, Discontinue Certain Claims
New York, NY – October 9, 2007 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that Irwin Naturals, which markets the “Green Tea Fat Burner” dietary supplement, modify or discontinue certain claims for the product.
As part of its routine monitoring program, NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, requested substantiation for performance claims that appeared on product packaging, the advertiser’s Website, and vendor Websites selling the product. Claims at issue included:
“Green Tea Fat Burner”
“The liquid soft-gel Green Tea Fat Burner is a powerful blend of natural herbal boosters and nutrients that, when used with a healthy diet plan, has a dual action effect on weight loss which helps you:
- Curb your appetite
- Kick-start & speed up your fat burning ability (thermogenesis)”
“Burn Fat & Speed Metabolism”
Contains Green Tea Extract, which “accelerates calorie burning through increased thermogenesis, particularly with fat calories.”
At the outset of the NAD inquiry, the advertiser said that it had modified many of its claims for its present formulations and packaging and would request that all of its online vendors update their sites to reflect the modifications.
NAD examined evidence that included a number of studies that examined the effect of consumption of green tea on weight loss and weight maintenance. Following its review of the evidence, NAD determined consumers could take away the message that Green Tea Fat Burner would “burn fat” from the body of those using the product, a message not fully supported by the evidence in the record.
NAD recommended that the advertiser either discontinue its claims, or modify them to reflect that evidence regarding positive effects of green tea extract and caffeine on weight or fat loss is as yet inconclusive, and is a product of emerging science.
NAD further recommended that in future advertising the advertiser either discontinue the claim within the product’s name (“Green Tea Fat Burner”), or modify it to avoid conveying the unsupported message that the product will “burn” fat off the body.
Additionally, NAD noted that the advertiser had provided a reasonable basis for claims indicating that Green Tea Fat Burner contains ingredients shown to have a positive effect on thermogenesis and fat oxidation, and to help maintain body weight.
Finally, NAD noted its appreciation for the advertiser’s efforts in modifying or discontinuing certain challenged claims and in contacting distributors and directing that claims be updated in accordance with the advertiser’s changes to claims on its packaging. NAD recommended that the advertiser continue to monitor the advertising claims of its distributors to ensure that all claims regarding its products are truthful and accurate.
The company, in its advertiser’s statement, said that although it disagrees with certain finding, “Irwin agrees to modify the packaging and advertising of the Product to respond constructively and effectively to the recommendations contained in the NAD decision.”
NAD's inquiry was conducted under NAD/CARU/NARB Procedures for the Voluntary Self-Regulation of National Advertising. Details of the initial inquiry, NAD's decision, and the advertiser's response will be included in the next NAD Case Report.
The National Advertising Review Council (NARC) was formed in 1971 by the Association of National Advertisers, Inc. (ANA), the American Association of Advertising Agencies, Inc. (AAAA), the American Advertising Federation, Inc. (AAF), and the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc. (CBBB). Its purpose is to foster truth and accuracy in national advertising through voluntary self-regulation. NARC is the body that establishes the policies and procedures for the CBBB’s National Advertising Division (NAD) and Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), as well as for the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) and Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP.)
NAD and CARU are the investigative arms of the advertising industry’s voluntary self-regulation program. Their casework results from competitive challenges from other advertisers, and also from self-monitoring traditional and new media. The National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the appeals body, is a peer group from which ad-hoc panels are selected to adjudicate those cases that are not resolved at the NAD/CARU level. This unique, self-regulatory system is funded entirely by the business community; CARU is financed by the children’s advertising industry, while NAD/NARC/NARB’s sole source of funding is derived from membership fees paid to the CBBB. ERSP’s funding is derived from membership fees to the Electronic Retailing Association. For more information about advertising self regulation, please visit www.narcpartners.org.