Exaggerated, Misleading Marketing Under Scanner

FTC and FDA Have Stepped Up Focus on False Claims of Supplement Marketers

The FTC and FDA have been extra vigilant lately, and have “stepped up” their focus and attention on the sale of supplements that don’t do what they are marketed to do, and on marketers who lie, cheat and steal.
In my regular interaction with clients in the health and wellness industry, the consistent questions are “What is my risk as a marketer of nutritionals and supplements?” and “What do I need to do to be in compliance with FTC and FDA guidelines?”
Check out this FTC Press Release and the court pleadings for example. Action was taken against a dietary supplement marketer for making false claims that their product cures people addicted to opiates, pain medications, and even illegal drugs such as heroin. The FTC also partially settled against marketers making misleading claims about weight-loss supplements. The targets of these actions deserved to be punished and their activities are almost a “how to of what not to do,” including:
  • Serious misrepresentations (lies) about curing a variety of diseases and conditions.
  • Lack of substantiation of claims.
  • Faulty/fake scientific studies.
  • Paid testimonials.
  • Fake testimonials.
  • Extreme claims of weight loss without diet or exercise in short periods of time.
  • Fake experts.
  • Failing to stand by “100% money-back guarantees.”
I urge everyone to step-up their games and to act with integrity in their product development and marketing implementation. 
For marketers who view a supplement as just another product with big demand, remember that lives are at stake here. For health and wellness professionals being bombarded with marketing strategies (good and bad), don’t lose sight of your mission.

by Peter Hoppenfeld