Nivea My Silhouette Gel Cream – ASA Ruling

Posted 08 September 2011

This is not the first time that Nivea has had an adverse ruling against the claims for their product. The ASA has previously ruled against Nivea Goodbye Cellulite, and the UK ASA against Nivea DNAge Cell Renewal Day Cream. One would have thought that such an "esteemed" company would stop making unsubstantiable claims or learn from previous mistakes.  In this instance, this ruling followed a complaint that noted that the  USA Federal Trade Commission recently found the Beiersdorf Inc guilty of deceptive advertising, fining it $900 000. This finding related to the exact same product. I would have expected a company with any credibility to therefore remove similar claims from the same product being sold in other parts of the world, and not only respond when a consumer takes issue with the claims.  Mostly, one would hope that such a company would stop trying to abuse the trust of consumers.  

Nivea My Silhouette Gel Cream / HA Steinman / 18279
Ruling of the : ASA Directorate
In the matter between:
Dr Harris Steinman Complainant(s)/Appellant(s)
Beiersdorf Consumer Products (Pty) Ltd Respondent
http://www.asasa.org.za/ResultDetail.aspx?Ruling=5716

07 Sep 2011

Dr Steinman lodged a consumer complaint against internet advertising on the respondent’s website, specifically the link http://www.nivea.co.za/products/Body-care/My-silhouette-gel-cream.

When the link is accessed it states, inter alia, the following:

“MY SILHOUETTE! GEL-CREAM Helps to slim and reshape thighs, hips, waist and stomach. Rediscover your own feel-good silhouette!”

“Slimming & Reshaping Gel-Cream
Nivea My Silhouette! Gel Cream slims and reshapes your body for you to discover your own feel good silhouette”.

“HOW IT WORKS
Nivea research has developed the natural Bio-Slim Complex that combines the high-performance active ingredients White tea and Anise extract for a dual action of slimming & reshaping.

White tea slims down fat cells and prevents them from growing back
Anise extract activates skin’s cell-metabolism which leads to increased collagen production to tone and reshape the skin”.

“Proven results:
The regular use of NIVEA My Silhouette! leads to a reduction of up to 3cm on targeted body parts such as thighs, hips, waist and belly.

First slimming results are measurable after already 4 weeks
The skin is noticeably better toned and more elastic.”

COMPLAINT
In essence, the complainant submitted that the claims made should be substantiated. He added that the USA Federal Trade Commission recently found the Beiersdorf Inc guilty of deceptive advertising, fining it $900 000. This finding related to the exact same product.

RELEVANT CLAUSE OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE
The complainant identified Clause 4.1 of Section II (Substantiation) as relevant.

RESPONSE
The respondent submitted that the claims posted on the website are not in accordance with the claims made in South Africa for the said product. It has removed the claims on the website and will ensure that this error will not be repeated.

ASA DIRECTORATE RULING
The ASA Directorate considered all the relevant documentation submitted by the respective parties.

The ASA has a long standing principle which holds that where an advertiser provides an unequivocal undertaking to withdraw or amend its advertising in a manner that addresses the concerns raised, the undertaking is accepted without considering the merits of the matter.

As the respondent’s undertaking to remove the claims addresses the complainant’s concerns, there is no need for the Directorate to consider the merits of the matter at this time.

The undertaking is therefore accepted on condition that the claims at issue are permanently withdrawn and is not used again in future. This condition applies to any media in which these claims may appear (refer Clause 15.5 of the Procedural Guide).

The Directorate also draws the respondent’s attention to the provisions of Clause 4.1 of Section II and, given the nature of this product, the provisions of Appendix C insofar as they may apply.

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