UK ASA Ruling: Biomedical Laboratories – Lipo Contour garment

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A complaint was laid with the UK ASA for a leaflet that promoted the Lipo Contour garment. Text stated “The non surgical option to Cellulite reduction! Lipo Contour, helps remodel your figure safely and effectively, with long lasting results, without the stress of dieting. Clinically proven, Lipo Contour has been developed from more than 20 years clinical practice and experience in the field of liposuction and liposculpture."

How did the UK ASA rule?

ASA Adjudication on Biomedical Laboratories
Biomedical Laboratories
18 Springfield Court
Otley Road
Guiseley
Leeds
LS20 8FD
Date:
1 December 2010
http://www.asa.org.uk/Complaints-and-ASA-action/Adjudications/2010/12/Biomedical-Laboratories/TF_ADJ_49451.aspx

 
Ad
A leaflet promoted the Lipo Contour garment. Text stated “The non surgical option to Cellulite reduction! Lipo Contour, helps remodel your figure safely and effectively, with long lasting results, without the stress of dieting. Clinically proven, Lipo Contour has been developed from more than 20 years clinical practice and experience in the field of liposuction and liposculpture … Made from a patented, double layered fabric, the Lipo Contour garments have been specially designed to micro massage those problem areas (hips, thighs, buttocks and abdomen) increasing blood circulation, which helps to break down the fatty deposits know [sic] to us as cellulite, plus helping to improve the body’s lymphatic drainage process, getting rid of excess toxins … The observations of the clinical cases treated … go beyond the mere effects of compression and support. They clearly show an improvement and reduction in the circumference of the parts of the body clothed with the sheath to improve the condition of cellulite”. 

A testimonial stated " … After only 4 weeks I could see an improvement to my cellulite, but I had lost inches, 2 inches off my hips and 1.5 inches off each thigh." Further text stated “A PR account director reported a loss of one inch to her waist and thighs … a nanny reported a loss of 1.5 inches to her thighs and a half inch off her bottom … ”.
Issue

The complainant challenged whether the claims that the product could:

1. reduce, in the long term, the circumference of particular body parts;

2. break down cellulite;

3. improve circulation;

4. help improve lymphatic drainage

were misleading and could be substantiated.

5. The complainant also challenged whether the references to the reduction in size of body parts implied the product could help users lose weight.

Response

1., 2., 3., 4. & 5. Biomedical Laboratories sent a copy of the clinical trial evidence that related to the Lipo Contour Classic product and a consumer trial carried out by a newspaper. They said they had received direct feedback from many of their customers who were truly satisfied and had seen brilliant results.

Assessment

1., 2., 3. & 4. Upheld

The ASA reviewed the evidence sent. We noted the clinical trial had not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, and covered only one study of 22 subjects: one group who wore the product and one who did not. We noted that participants who trialled the product as part of a newspaper feature claimed to have lost up to 1.5 inches from their buttocks or thighs after wearing the product. The participants did not report on the long-term effect of wearing the product and the newspaper feature did not assess whether the product could break down cellulite, improve circulation and improve lymphatic drainage.

Because the claims made for the product were strong efficacy claims, highlighting its ability to remodel one's figure, help break down fatty deposits and "improve the bodys lymphatic drainage process, getting rid of excess toxins", we considered they should be supported by a robust body of evidence that demonstrated these effects were attributable to the product. We did not consider the one unpublished clinical study provided and the anecdotal evidence in the newspaper article sufficient to support the claims challenged in points 1. to 4., and therefore concluded they had not been substantiated and the ad was misleading.

On points 1., 2., 3. & 4. the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 11) clauses 3.1 (Substantiation), 7.1 (Truthfulness), 14.3 (Testimonials and endorsements), 50.1 (Health and beauty products and therapies) and 51.12 and 51.9 (Weight control).

5. Upheld

We noted the ad stated "Lipo Contour, helps remodel your figure … without the stress of dieting". We considered that claim implied the product would achieve the same outcome as a diet, but without the stress. Combined with the references to the reduction in size of various body parts contained in the testimonial, we considered the ad implied the product could achieve weight reduction. Because that was not the case, we concluded that the ad was misleading.

On this point the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 11) clauses 3.1 (Substantiation), 7.1 (Truthfulness), 14.3 (Testimonials and endorsements), 50.1 (Health and beauty products and therapies) and 51.12 and 51.9 (Weight control).

Action

The ad must not appear again in its current form.

Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)
 

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