Claims made by affiliate marketers triggered an advertising review by the National Advertising Division for KLF International Inc., the maker of Venus Factor Weight Loss System for Women.
Ads found on the Venus Factor websites and in promotional videos featured claims such as "Dramatically increasing your female metabolism," "Drop up to three dress sizes in a week," "Burn fat around the clock, even while you sleep," and "The key to Venus Factor method of weight loss is that it has been created specifically to reverse leptin resistance in women."
NAD added that Venus Factor also produced online advertising that appears to be independent product reviews, but where the reviewer failed to disclose the material connection that existed between the reviewer and Venus Factor.
In response to the NAD's inquiry, KLF said the challenged claims were permanently discontinued and that some of them were made by affiliate marketers, not KLF. To help assuage the self-regulatory body's concerns, the advertiser outlined the steps it had taken to ensure that advertising by affiliates for Venus Factor is truthful and accurate.
KLF's terms and conditions now require affiliates to disclose that they receive compensation for their marketing of Venus Factor and directs affiliates to refrain from making false claims about the product. Affiliates are advised that their Venus Factor advertising must comply with all government regulations.
If an affiliate violates these terms and conditions, KLF will sever the relationship. The company also has a procedure in place to keep an eye on affiliate marketing. KLF reviews the advertising for its affiliates with the highest sales volume on a monthly basis to make sure their advertising complies with the affiliate marketing terms and conditions. KLF also monitors keywords for Venus Factor on major search engines on a weekly basis.
The NAD "appreciated the efforts taken by KLF to ensure that marketing by its affiliates is truthful, accurate and not misleading," according to the decision. In reliance on the advertiser's representation that the challenged advertising claims had been permanently discontinued or modified, the NAD did not review the claims on the merits.
To read the NAD's press release about the case, click here.
Why it matters: While the self-regulatory body noted its appreciation that KLF has discontinued the claims, it took the opportunity to emphasize the importance of ensuring that marketing by "affiliates is truthful, accurate and not misleading," and noted that KLF had instituted a process to monitor its affiliate marketers.