What’s the News?
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently settled with L’Oréal USA Inc. over charges that the company made deceptive claims regarding the benefits of two of its products. Specifically, L’Oréal claimed that its Génifique and Youth Code facial skincare products could combat the effects of aging by affecting the genes of anyone who used it. However, according to the FTC, such claims lacked adequate substantiation. Given the FTC’s allegations, L’Oréal has elected to settle the dispute and has agreed to a proposed consent order.
According to the FTC, L’Oréal made claims that its Génifique product was “clinically proven” to “boost gene” activity and to otherwise stimulate the body in order to create the appearance of “visibly younger skin in just 7 days.” Along these same lines, L’Oréal also claimed that its Youth Code product was the “new era of skincare gene science” and that the company was able to “crack the code to younger acting skin.” Based upon these claims, Génifique sold for up to $132 per container and Youth Code sold for up to $25 per container.
Despite these claims, the FTC alleges that the company lacked competent and reliable scientific evidence to support any claim that either product could combat aging by altering a user’s genes. Given this, L’Oréal has agreed to stop making any claim that any of its facial products can boost gene activity for anti-aging purposes unless it relies upon competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate such a claim. Further, the company has agreed not to misrepresent the results of any study conducted in relation to its facial skincare products.
Why Is This Significant?
All businesses should view this settlement as a reminder that product claims require adequate substantiation. Claims involving terms such as “clinically proven” or other health claims are held to a higher standard of substantiation. Therefore, all marketers should ensure that they rely upon competent and reliable scientific evidence before making such claims.