Sunday, 8 August 2010

*Lipo Contour, the "Clinically Proven" underpants

Can a tight pair of underpants help you lose weight?

A company called Lipo Contour thinks so.

UPDATE, 1 Dec: My complaint against the advertisers, Biomedical Laboratories of Guiseley, has today been upheld in full by the ASA Council.

According to their flyer (available here and here), their "clinically proven" undergarments "increased blood circulation", which "helps to break down...cellulite, plus helping to...get rid of excess toxins".

Well, after a little research, I can confidently state that all four of these claims are bullshit.

The ASA's advertising codes have, in fact, a special clause outlawing claims that tight-fitting garments like these can cause weight loss.

Another clause forbids marketers from claiming their products can make you lose weight from specific parts of the body - like the "hips" and "thighs", for example.

Oh, and this supposed "clinical study" which "proves" the claims hasn't even been published yet. Neither has it been double-blinded or peer-reviewed - in other words, its conclusions are most unlikely to be reliable.

Of course, it would be libellous to suggest Lipo Contour are dishonest. That would be both defamatory and, worse still, unconscionably rude.

But the seditious thought would cross people's minds much less frequently if their own website wasn't falsely registered to a non-trading individual!

Here's my ASA complaint which might help to resolve everything.

"I write to complain about a flyer I picket up at Luton Indoor Market, outside the "First Health" shop [1].

The flyer promotes the "Lipo Contour", a tight-fitting garment that supposedly causes weight loss.

I suspect that the flyer may be in breach of five sections of the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP) code. I can provide an original copy of the flyer by post, if required.

1. (i) On several occasions the advert claims the Lipo Contour is "clinically proven". For example, the advert states:

"Clinically proven, Lipo Contour has been developed from more than 20 years [sic] clinical practice and experience in the field of liposuction and liposculpture..."

(ii) The advert also states:

"The most recent clinical study was set up using 22 female subjects...the garment was worn for a minimum of 8 weeks, 8-12 hours a day. The following results were documented: Hip circumference reduced...Thigh circumference reduced...Abdomen circumference reduced...Bottom lifted...all participants' cellulite improved..."

2. After a search of PubMed and elsewhere, I have been unable to find any clinical studies relating to the Lipo Contour product.

3. The manufacturers' website [2] makes available the text of the "clinical study" referenced by the flyer. It is notable that the website advises this "clinical study" is yet to be published.

4. It also notable that the "clinical study":

(i) Does not appear to have been double-blinded, or even single-blinded
(ii) Has been neither peer-reviewed nor published in any medical journal
(iii) Uses a sample size of just twenty-two participants

5. Under Sections 3.1 and 51.1 of the CAP Code, I therefore challenge whether the advertiser can substantiate any of the following claims:

(i) The Lipo Contour "helps remodel your figure safely and effectively, with long lasting [sic] results, without the stress of dieting"

(ii) The Lipo Contour is "clinically proven"

(iii) The Lipo Contour can "micro massage those problem areas...increasing blood circulation, which helps to break down the fatty deposits know [sic] to us as cellulite, plus helping to improve the body's lymphatic drainage process, getting rid of excess toxins"

(iv) All of the claimed "results...documented" by the "recent clinical study", such as "Hip circumference reduced between 2 and 7 cm"

6. Under Section 14.3, I challenge whether the advertisers can substantiate their testimonial claims (in the section titled "AS SEEN ON GMTV") that the product can cause between 1-2 inches of weight loss around the waist, buttocks and thighs in just four weeks.

7. Under Section 51.9, I challenge whether the advert claims "fat can be lost from specific parts of the body".

8. Under Section 51.12, I challenge whether the advert claims that wearing the product, a "tight-fitting garment", will lead to "weight or fat reduction".

9. I confirm that I have no connections with the advertiser or the shop. I confirm I am not involved in legal proceedings with the advertiser or the shop.



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