The Federal Trade Commission settled with Beiersdorf, Inc., the maker of Nivea, after the agency alleged that the defendant falsely advertised that the skin cream could help consumers slim down and reshape their bodies.
The company agreed to pay $900,000 and is barred from making claims that its products cause substantial weight or fat loss when applied to the skin.
In its complaint, the FTC charged that the company used sponsored Google search results and television advertisements to promote Nivea My Silhouette! with “Bio-Slim Complex,” a combination of ingredients, including white tea and anise, which it claimed could reshape and slim the body.
In one television ad cited by the agency, a woman applies Nivea My Silhouette! to her stomach and thighs and after going through her closet, tries on a pair of old jeans that still fit. The voiceover for the ad says, “New Nivea My Silhouette! with Bio-Slim Complex helps redefine the appearance of your silhouette and noticeably firm skin in just four weeks. So you can rediscover your favorite jeans. And how they still get his attention. New Nivea My Silhouette! with Bio-Slim Complex. Touch and be touched.”
Sponsored search ads purchased by the defendant included phrases such as “stomach fat” and “thin waist” so that Nivea ads would appear during those searches, the FTC said.
In addition to paying $900,000, Beiersdorf agreed to stop making claims that any product applied to the skin causes substantial weight or fat loss, or a substantial reduction in body size. The company is also required to have competent and reliable scientific evidence for any claims regarding the health benefits of its products and is prohibited from making such claims absent two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human clinical studies.
To read the complaint in In the Matter of Beiersdorf, click here.
Why it matters: “The real skinny on weight loss is that no cream is going to help you fit into your jeans,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in a press release about the settlement. “The tried and true formula for weight loss is diet and exercise.”