The National Advertising Division recently recommended that BioLogic Solutions discontinue several claims made in Internet and broadcast ads for its “Stem Cell Therapy” skin cream, finding that testing used as the basis of support for the claims was performed on individual ingredients and not on the product as a whole.

The NAD requested substantiation for several performance claims made by BioLogic, including “Look and feel years younger with Smooth, New Skin in Just Days!” and “Look up to 15 years younger starting the very first day.”

In response, BioLogic provided the NAD with studies consisting of each of the three principal plant-based ingredients of its Stem Cell Therapy skin cream, but not any testing of the product itself. BioLogic argued that because the dosage amount of the ingredients tested was comparable to the amount in the product, it was acceptable to rely on the tests and studies to support its claims.

But the NAD said that BioLogic’s product performance claims – including before and after pictures – required stronger substantiation than the studies and tests provided.  “Accordingly, when there is substantiation only for the efficacy of ingredients in a product, but not for the product itself, the claims must be clearly expressed as ingredient claims,” the NAD said, recommending that use of the photographs be discontinued.  Remaining claims should be “significantly modified to identify only the ingredients tested and to make clear that emerging evidence indicates that these ingredients may help reduce some signs of aging,” the NAD said.

In addition, the NAD recommended that a “dermatologist recommended claim” be discontinued, as it was based merely on the testimonial of one dermatologist.

To read the NAD’s press release about the case, click here.

Why it matters: The NAD reminded advertisers of the value of substantiating claims based on testing of the product itself, not its component parts. “As a general rule, product performance claims should be supported by reliable testing on the actual product,” the NAD said. “The nature and extent of performance claims dictates [the] level of substantiation required to support them.” BioLogic disagreed, noting in its advertiser’s statement that the NAD “misinterpreted, misunderstood or overlooked certain tests and studies,” reaching “unwarranted and unsupported conclusions.” The company appealed the decision to the National Advertising Review Board.