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ERSP schools Smart Cookie on testimonials

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

The maker of Smart Cookie meal-replacement products will modify the general performance claim and consumer testimonials in its advertising even though the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program finds adequate support for the claim "lose up to 15 pounds." The National Advertising Review Council division said June 28 Smart For Life Weight Management Centers should add a "clear and conspicuous" disclosure to its "Eat Cookies. Lose Weight. It's that simple" claim so consumers know to eat a low-calorie dinner, too. The firm also should modify consumer testimonials to depict results consistent with those observed in company studies. According to ERSP's release, Boca Raton, Fla.-based Smart For Life said "in all of its future packaging and advertising" it will make the two recommended changes. ERSP's recommendations reflect the Federal Trade Commission's enforcement approach to consumer testimonials in ads. FTC in 2009 changed its guidelines on using testimonials and endorsements to include clear disclosure of typical results rather than a "results not typical" disclaimer (1"The Tan Sheet" Oct. 12, 2009)

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