Health related claims must be supported by reliable and scientific evidence.

In a recent decision regarding an over-the-counter product advertised as having instant health benefits, the National Advertising Division (NAD) stated that “the competent and reliable scientific evidence required to support health-related claims is a human clinical trial, methodologically sound and statistically significant to the 95 percent, confidence level with results that translate into meaningful benefits for consumers that relate directly to the performance attributes promised by advertising.”

In this case, the advertiser/marketer claimed that use of its product “…works on contact to provide immediate results.” Unfortunately, when challenged, the company was unable to provide any supportive clinical evidence that the product produced the results advertised. Furthermore, the “NAD noted, claims, demonstrations, dramatizations, and side-by-side depictions that convey a cold sore “healing” message require clinical proof to be substantiated.”

Given the company was unable to substantiate its claims, it was asked to stop making such claims. Also, the NAD was determined that the claims in the advertisements were not puffery, as alleged by the marketer. Finally, the advertiser was asked to change its advertising tagline, “Less sore. More smile,” in order to not mislead the consumer. The company agreed.

Substantiation does actually build trust and so does transparency. When making claims, particularly health related claims upon which the consumer relies, it is crucial to be able to show the product actually performs as advertised. The substantiation standard for health related claims is higher. #substantiationequalstrust, #tranparencyformstrust