The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reached a settlement requiring Nivea skin cream maker Beiersdorf Inc. to stop claiming that regular use of its Nivea My Silhouette! skin cream can significantly reduce consumer’s body size. The company also has agreed to pay $900,000 as part of the settlement.
“The real skinny on weight loss is that no cream is going to help you fit into your jeans,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. “The tried and true formula for weight loss is diet and exercise.”
FTC administrative complaint charges Beiersdorf with falsely caliming that by applying Nivea My Silhouette! cream to their skin, consumers could slim down. According to the complaint, Beiersdorf, Inc. marketed the skin cream in nationwide television ads and through sponsored search results on Google. The company touted the cream’s “Bio-slim Complex,” a combination of ingredients that includes anise and white tea.
The company also allegedly purchased sponsored search results from Google so when consumers searched on the words “stomach fat,” “nivea slim silhouette” or “thin waist,” they found Beiersdorf ads implying Nivea My Silhouette! could tone their stomachs, thin their waists and help them slim down.
The proposed settlement:
Beiersdorf Inc. is one of the world’s largest sellers of hand and body care skin cream. Nivea My Silhouette! is sold throughout the U.S. at pharmacy and grocery stores. Apparently, Beiersdorf has removed the product from their U.S. facing Web site. However, the product still appears on the site for other regions, such as Canada, which can be seen here.
Natural Cosmetic News recommends that consumers should view advertisements with suspicion when such product claims seem too good to be true. As most educated consumers know, the best method for weight loss is a healthy diet and regular exercise. For more information see: Weighing the Evidence in Diet Ads.
According to the FTC, they are actively taking efforts to protect consumers from over-hyped advertising claims. Only if the FTC, or FDA for that matter, would start policing the use of terms like “natural” and “organic,” then progress could be made.
Industry giants, like Nivea, and other false advertising culprits are hijacking the industry and making it increasingly difficult for honest manufacturers to win over consumers with ingredient quality and effectiveness, rather than the size of their marketing and advertising budget. Without more oversight, consumers are left in the dark about the true origins and effects of their personal care and cosmetic products.
The rise of independent natural and organic certifications is picking up the slack of governmental organizations that have created gaping holes in industry regulation. But not all “natural” products utilize a certification or seal of authenticity.
So, how can consumers really know what is in their product, or what are its effects? Here is a good place to start: Find Out What’s In Your Products – Personal Care & Cosmetic Ingredient Database