The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that Philosophy, Inc. discontinue some advertising claims about its Time in a Bottle Age-Defying Serum because NA D found problems with the six-month clinical study the company cited to support its claims. Philosophy advertised the product as causing users’ skin to look two years younger, reducing signs of aging and making skin appear “radiant,” “poreless,” “even,” and “wrinkle-free.” In the study, 117 women aged 25 to 55 used the product once daily and then answered questions about how their skin looked after four and eight weeks of use.
Among the problems NA D cited as to the study’s reliability were (i) Philosophy did not account for environmental factors because it began the trial in winter, when skin is driest, and ended it in summer, when humidity is most excessive; (ii) skin-imaging analysis was used in advertising to show results but was only used on 26 of the 117 participants; (iii) the study used self-assessments rather than trained experts to determine actual results, causing a disparity between the actual improvements in anti-aging parameters and the self-reported improvements; and (iv) the self-assessment questionnaire may have been unreliable because of its length and the questions it asked, such as “Skin appears __ years younger.”
In its response, Philosophy expressed respect for the process but disagreed with the determination, finding that the criticism of its study, “one of the most significant and extensive studies conducted in the cosmetics industry to evaluate product performance across a broad audience of women at different times,” could “result in confusing guidance for the cosmetics industry and disincentivize manufacturers from conducting similar comprehensive studies.” According to a news source, the company said it would appeal the ruling to the National Advertising Review Board. See NAD Press Release, October 9, 2014.