Homemark Fat Freezer

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Posted 24 October 2016

fatfreezervsproshock-icesmall
Homemark Fat FreezerPROSHOCK ICE Ice shock LIPOlysis

Homemark sells a product called Homemark Igia Fat Freezer.

Homemark makes the following claims for the product:

“A non-invasive alternative to convectional liposuction, cryolipolysis uses cold to break down fat cells without damage to other tissues. Fat cells are cooled into the negative temperatures, causing them to break up and be disposed of though the body’s own lymphatic system, resulting in a more toned and sleek appearance. Sculpt your body by freezing your fat cells. Lose an average 20% of your fat cells in the treated area with just one application a month”. http://www.homemark.co.za/product/igia-fatfreezer

The claims for this product is simply nonsense. A complaint (see below) was laid against the claims for this product with the ASA in February 2014. Saul Shoot of Fluxmans, acting on behalf of Homemark, has prevented the ASA assessing this product. Saul Shoot is famous (infamous?) for acting on behalf of Antagolin (MNI), Herbex and USN taking the ASA to the High Court (for the first two) to prevent ASA assessing the claims for these products, and striking previous rulings off the ASA website.

In December 2013, the UK ASA were asked to assessed the claims for PROSHOCK ICE Ice shock LIPOlysis, a far more ‘robust’ product claiming to have similar effects to Homemark Fat Freezer. The UK ruled against the claims being made for  PROSHOCK ICE Ice shock.

ASA Ruling on Lamphall Ltd

Lamphall Ltd t/a Epilight New Skin Clinics
54 Rodney Street
Liverpool L1 9AD

Date: 11 December 2013

Complaint Ref: A13-233746

https://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/2013/12/Lamphall-Ltd/SHP_ADJ_233746.aspx

Background

Summary of Council decision:

Two issues were investigated, both of which were Upheld.

Ad

A regional press ad stated “Treating FAT & CELLULITE Just got easy with PROSHOCK. Want to lose inches with no down time? Want a slimmer smoother body now? PROSHOCK ICE Ice shock LIPOlysis. For all your problem bulges, flab, dimples. FAST ACTION guaranteed. NON SURGICAL. GROUNDBREAKING TECHNOLOGY THAT DESTROYS FAT CELLS FAST”. The ad featured some ‘Before’ and ‘After’ shots.

Issue

The complainant challenged whether:

  1. the efficacy claims that Proshock could cause weight loss and treat cellulite were misleading and could be substantiated; and,
  1. the before and after pictures were genuine.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

13.13.13.113.453.7

Response

  1. Lamphall Ltd t/a Epilight New Skin Clinics said they offered local fat reduction treatments using methods of cryolipolysis and the device, the Pro Shock Ice, was a medical class 2B device. They said the device, which was sold around the world, was manufactured by a reputable and long established company Promoitalia and had been tried and tested in many countries. They considered that the treatment results were reliable and said the process of cryolipolysis was FDA proven.

They stated that fat cells froze at a much higher temperature than other cells and tissues in the body and the treatment worked by freezing fat cells, causing apoptosis (programmed death of the cells). They said the fat cells were then removed by the processes within the body and did not grow back. They stated that the treatment additionally used high pressure acoustic shock waves to shatter and collapse the crystallised fat cells, which they stated gave an immediate measurable and visible reduction of fat, with the visible and measurable reduction continuing and increasing as the dead fat cells were flushed out by the body over the following weeks. They said the treatment also destroyed the fibro-sept and the macro nodules that were associated with cellulite.

They said the treatment was comfortable and was designed to target fat cells and all three types of cellulite.

They provided a clinical trial entitled “Synergistic Effects of Cryolipolysis and Shock Waves for Noninvasive Body Contouring” and stated it was carried out by medical experts and scientists. They said the trial treated different cases for fat removal, body sculpting or cellulite removal. They stated that the treatments were carried out on different areas of the body and individuals varied in their response depending on the amount of fat cells present in the treatment area. They stated that, for fat loss treatment, the more fat cells that were present in the treatment area, the bigger the fat removal result, and in areas of the body where fat cells were less prolific, such as knees or ankles, the results were, in some cases, negligible. They said four treatments were carried out over eight weeks and results started to show after the first treatment, and were cumulative over the four treatments and beyond. They stated that results were fast in comparison to the other technologies currently on the market.

They said they had treated over 100 patients and believed they had consistent results showing the efficacy, both for the fat removal treatment and for the cellulite removal treatment. They added that they had offered a money back guarantee because they considered that the treatment worked.

  1. They stated the photographs used were genuine before and after photographs which were supplied by the manufacturer of the device, Promoitalia. They said the photographs showed a range of results on a range of individuals and on a range of different parts of the body for both fat removal and cellulite removal and were the clinical trial photographs of real people and documented results.

Assessment

  1. Upheld

The ASA considered that the claims “Treating FAT & CELLULITE Just got easy with PROSHOCK”, “Want to lose inches with no down time?”, “Want a slimmer smoother body now?”, “For all your problem bulges, flab, dimples”, “FAST ACTION guaranteed” and “GROUNDBREAKING TECHNOLOGY THAT DESTROYS FAT CELLS FAST” would be interpreted by consumers to be claims that the treatment could cause weight loss and treat cellulite. We also noted that the advertisers were presenting the product as “GROUNDBREAKING TECHNOLOGY” and considered that breakthrough claims should be supported by a body of robust scientific evidence.

We acknowledged that the advertisers had provided a study in support of their claim, which had tested the treatment on 50 subjects and stated in the “Results” section that although “Weight was unchanged during the treatment”, “the procedure significantly reduced the circumference in the treated areas, significantly diminishing fat thickness” and “the reduction in fat thickness was accompanied by a significant improvement in microcirculation, and thus, the cellulite”.

The ASA consulted an expert. We understood that the study was described as a pilot study, was uncontrolled and non-blinded and that the testing methodology was not clearly explained. We understood that the test indicated that the testing method might have limited applications.

We further noted that measurements were made after eight weeks and there were no objective measurements to show that any effects persisted beyond eight weeks. We considered that claims such as “Want a slimmer smoother body now?” and “FAST ACTION guaranteed” would be understood to mean that effects would be seen relatively quickly and did not consider that consumers would interpret claims suggesting that the effects of a treatment were achievable “now” and “fast” to relate to the effects after an eight-week period.

 

We therefore considered that we not seen sufficient evidence to support breakthrough claims for the treatment in relation to fat loss and cellulite reduction and concluded that the ad’s efficacy claims were misleading.

On that point, the claims breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation), 3.11 (Exaggeration), 3.45 (Endorsements and testimonials) and 13.1 (Weight control and slimming).

  1. Upheld

We noted that the before and after pictures in the ad were taken from the study provided by the advertisers and understood that they featured genuine test subjects who had undergone the Pro Shock Ice treatment under the test conditions applied in the study. We understood from the expert that the description of the photographic methods was good and suggested good control of measurement techniques. However, although we understood that the pictures represented test subjects who had undergone the treatment, we noted, as set out under point 1, that the treatment’s efficacy in achieving weight loss and cellulite removal had not been supported by the substantiation provided. We considered that, in the context of an ad for a weight loss and cellulite treatment, consumers would understand from the pictures that they would achieve weight loss and cellulite reduction if they underwent the treatment and that the results would be “fast”. Although we noted that the photos featured test subjects who had undergone the treatment, because we had not seen sufficient documentation in support of the efficacy of the treatment in achieving weight loss and cellulite reduction, we considered that the pictures were unlikely to accurately represent what most consumers would achieve from the treatment and therefore concluded they were misleading.

On that point, the claims breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation), 3.11 (Exaggeration), 3.45 (Endorsements and testimonials) and 13.1 (Weight control and slimming).

Action

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told the advertisers not to make breakthrough claims about the efficacy of a treatment, if they did not hold sufficient supporting evidence for the claims.

Our complaint

26 February 2014

Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa
Box 41555
Craighall 2024

Dear

Re: Homemark Slim Freezer

Homemark has advertised in an email newsletter, this product, which claims, among other:

  • Sculpt your body by freezing your fat cells
  • Lose an average of 20% of your fat cells in the treated area with just 1 application a month. There is no discomfort associated with this process thanks to the protective pads included in the box. Slim Freezer uses scientifically proven cold lipolysis technology. This is a new technology where fat cells are frozen without damaging the surrounding tissue. Then the body naturally eliminates the dead cells through a process called Apoptosis (Natural Cell Death).
  • The Slim Freezer uses scientifically proven cold Lipolysis technology that works by delivering energy (cold) through an area of the skin that helps dissolve the fat cell deposits beneath that area by “freezing” them away. Slim Freezer provides a non invasive, safe and simple way of reducing pockets of fatty tissue in designated areas of the body.

Although “cold lipolysis technology” has been researched, and there is some evidence that it does have some benefits for specific parts of the body, the effects are temporary and ONLY shown to be possible with very expensive and intricate high end technology. It is very clear that Homemark is attempting to extrapolate evidence from high end technology to a “use at home” piece of equipment.

Clause 4.1 of Section II of the ASA’s Code states “Before advertising is published, advertisers shall hold in their possession documentary evidence as set out in Clause 4.1, to support all claims, whether direct or implied, that are capable of objective substantiation.”

and

“Documentary evidence, other than survey data, shall emanate from or be evaluated by a person/entity, which is independent, credible, and an expert in the particular field to which the claims relate and be acceptable to the ASA”.

I argue that:

  1. there is zero evidence that this Homemark “toy” is capable of any of the effects that expensive high technological equipment is capable of, and therefore the effects claimed are improbable i.e., claiming that a model car of a Mercedes Benz is capable of driving at 300 km per hour like the original car;
  2. there is zero evidence that this product is capable of any significant and clinically measurable freezing your fat cells and thereby sculpting a body;
  3. there is no evidence that this product can result in a user losing “an average of 20% of your fat cells in the treated area with just 1 application a month”;
  4. there is no truth in that this product uses “scientifically proven cold lipolysis technology” for this apparatus has no semblance to proper cold lipolysis technology but a mock up;
  5. there is no proof to substantiate the claim that “Slim Freezer provides a non invasive, safe and simple way of reducing pockets of fatty tissue in designated areas of the body”;
  6. even if this product was able to fulfil the claims, the advert gives no indication that the results are very temporary;
  7. the name of the product, “Slim Freezer” is misleading for it infers that the product can result in slimming, and there is no proof that this is true.

I argue that Homemark is fully conversant with the ASA code and regulations and that making such bizarre claims for a “toy” product without holding in their possession documentary evidence as set out in Clause 4.1, to support all claims, whether direct or implied, that are capable of objective substantiation, is a flagrant abuse to the ASA code and regulations and brings advertising into disrepute.

I therefore request that sanctions be implemented if the ASA Directorate concurs that there is inadequate substantiation to support the claims for this product. I claim that this is Homemark’s business model – to make impossible claims, scam the consumer till a complaint is laid, lie low for a period after a raft of rulings, and then resurrect the marketing process following this period. However, the institutional memory has not disappeared, Homemark knows full well the implication of Clause 4.1 of Section II of the ASA’s Code. This is similar to the recent case of Homemark’s Aragan Oil (Homemark Aragan Oil / HA Steinman / 22871) which was marketed, without any evidence of beneficial effect on fungal infections of the nails. I therefore argue that the precedent of not imposing sanctions following a period of compliance, should be revisited.

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