Rubbing lotion on your skin will not make you thin, the Federal Trade Commission today reminded us all in a $900,000 settlement involving ads for Nivea Skin Cream.
The FTC busted lotion maker Beiersdorf, Inc for falsely claiming in nationwide television commercials that Nivea My Silhouette! with Bio-Slim Complex “helps redefine the appearance of your silhouette.”
The ad shows a woman getting dressed after applying the lotion to her stomach and thighs. She digs through her closet and finds a pair of old jeans which now - amazingly - fit her. “You can rediscover your favorite jeans. And how they still get his attention,” according to the ad.
The company also allegedly purchased sponsored search results from Google so that when consumers searched phrases like “stomach fat” or “thin waist,” they got Nivea ads suggesting the lotion could tone their stomachs and thin their waists.
Under the proposed settlement, Beiersdorf is barred from claiming that any product applied to the skin causes substantial weight or fat loss or a substantial reduction in body size. If the company does want to claim Nivea (or anything else) will make you lose weight, it has to back it up with two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human clinical studies.
In February, the company settled a class action over ads for its Good-bye Cellulite products for $3.175 million.
FTC Chairman Jon Liebowitz in a press release offered this advice. “The real skinny on weight loss is that no cream is going to help you fit into your jeans,” he said. “The tried and true formula for weight loss is diet and exercise.”