Friday, 23 April 2010

*EnergistX - 'lose 15lbs and more in just 10 days'!

Health Base Direct, whose weight-loss products are so astonishly efficacious that they've chosen to register their company in Western Samoa, are back in this week's UK and Ireland edition of National Enquirer.

UPDATE, 27 Apr: ASA report "
The ASA can only take action against advertisers based in the UK and against ads which appear in UK based publications. Unfortunately, the UK edition of the National Enquirer is produced and printed in the USA and then shipped to the UK. There is no UK editorial office and in determining whether an ad appearing in a publication falls within remit, we have to consider where the office, which is taking the decision to place the ad, is based. Although the advertisers may be based in the UK, we are only able to look into the content of ads which are published within the UK. In this case, the decision to place the ad was made in the US and we cannot consider the matter further.

First up is EnergistX which helps its users "lose 15lbs and more in just 10 days". Some of their satisfied "customers" have lost almost double this in the same period, apparently.

Me, well, I don't believe a word of it.

Standard ASA complaint follows (advert available here and here).

"I write to complain about an advert in the UK/Ireland edition of "National Enquirer" (April 26, 2010, p21).

The advert, for "Health Base Direct", promotes "EnergistX" weight-loss tablets.

I suspect that the advert may be in breach of fourteen sections of the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP) code.

I can provide an original copy of the advert by post, if required.

1. Under Sections 3.1 and 51.1, I challenge whether the advertiser holds documentary evidence to prove any of the following claims, and I challenge whether the claims made for the effectiveness of the product are backed if appropriate by rigorous trials on people:

(i) EnergistX tablets will make you "Lose 15lbs and more in just 10 days"
(ii) EnergistX tablets "[prevent] calories from food being absorbed by fat cells when you have excess body fat and thus stored calories"
(iii) EnergistX tablets "From Day One...immediately restrict your body to getting its daily calorie needs from only your excess body fat, not the food you eat"
(iv) EnergistX tablets "Quickly [begin] the process of dissolving and eradicating the excess fat and weight that has built up over the years..."
(v) Trials of EnergistX "have shown average weight loss of 15lbs in 10 days"
(vi) Some participants in trials of EnergistX "have lost almost double this [i.e. 30lbs] in the same period [i.e. 10 days]"

2. Under Section 2.1, I challenge whether the text of the advert is "honest and truthful".

3. Under Section 2.2, I challenge whether the advert has been "prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society".

4. Under Section 6.1, I challenge whether the advert's weight loss claims "exploits the credulity, lack of knowledge or inexperience of consumers".

5. Under Section 7.1, I challenge whether the advert's weight loss claims are misleading "by inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration, omission or otherwise".

6. Under Section 7.1, I challenge whether the advert is misleading by failing to reveal the cost of a call to 0871 numbers.

7. Under Section 14.1, I challenge whether the advertiser holds signed and dated proof, including a contact address, for the four testimonials appearing in the advert.

8. Under Section 14.3, I challenge whether the four testimonials in the advert are supported, where necessary, with independent evidence of their accuracy.

9. Under Section 51.2, I challenge whether the advertiser is offering to the public a treatment for obesity without suitably qualified supervision.

10. Under Section 51.3, I challenge whether the advert is likely to appeal to people in whom the advertised weight reduction of "15lbs and more in just 10 days" would "produce a potentially harmful body weight".

11. Under Section 51.4, I challenge whether the advertiser has shown that weight reduction is achieved by loss of body fat before making claims for EnergistX tablets.

12. Under Section 51.8, I challenge whether the advertiser:

(i) Makes clear how EnergistX tablets work
(ii) Gives prominence to the role of diet
(iii) Gives the impression that "dieters cannot fail or can eat as much as they like and still lose weight"

13. Under Section 51.9, I challenge whether the advertiser claims that "people can lose precise amounts of weight within a stated period".

14. Under Section 51.10, I challenge whether the advertiser's claims are "compatible with good medical and nutritional practice".

15. I confirm that I have no connections with the advertiser, the magazine, or with the publishing and weight-loss industries in general. I confirm that I am not involved in legal proceedings with the advertiser or the magazine."