BBB National Programs Archive

ERSP Finds Guthy-Renker Can Support Performance Claims for “Cold Plasma Sub-D”

New York, NY –June 17,  2015 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has determined that Guthy-Renker can support performance claims for Cold Plasma Sub-D, a topical cream intended to sculpt and tighten the appearance of skin along the chin and jawline.

ERSP is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. The marketer’s advertising came to the attention of ERSP pursuant to its ongoing monitoring program.

ERSP reviewed broadcast and online advertising claims for Cold Plasma Sub-D, including:

  • “Results you can expect to see [are]: Visibly tightening of the appearance of sagging, loose skin and improved appearance of double chin”
  • “Visibly more crisp appearance of the chin and jawline, imparting an overall more youthful looking face”
  • “Visibly improved appearance of lines and wrinkles on the neck and décolletage with noticeable improvement in overall skin texture
  • “Sub-D is specifically formulated for the area called the submandibular. Often neglected, the skin in this area has unique needs and Cold Plasma Sub-D helps tackle the most common signs of aging on the chin, jawline, neck, and décolleté.”
  • “I saw results within a week.”

As support for the performance and establishment claims at issue, the marketer submitted the results of consumer usage studies conducted on the product itself. Guthy-Renker also provided ERSP with several articles on the benefits of the individual ingredients in Cold Plasma Sub-D contained in the product formulation as support for its position.

While ERSP did conclude that, based upon the collective materials in the case record, the marketer provided adequate support for its general performance claim that specified the specific benefits from using Cold Plasma Sub-D, ERSP determined that it would be material for consumers to know that the claim was based on a consumer usage study and, accordingly, this information should be disclosed conspicuously, in close proximity to the claim.

ERSP noted Guthy-Renker’s voluntary modifications to the two consumer testimonials at issue in the subject matter (“After six weeks, my jawline appeared more defined and the sagging, loose skin under my chin is tighter and has a more youthful appearance” and “I saw results within a week.”). Although the marketer maintained that the depiction of product performance after one week was not a core claim in the advertising, ERSP did not agree. It was concluded that the communication of product performance that can be typically expected by consumers is a fundamental and pivotal component of the Cold Plasma Sub-D advertising. ERSP also determined that the marketer’s commitment to voluntarily modify the consumer testimonial attesting to the expected results “within a week” of using Cold Plasma Sub-D to more clearly communicate the limitations of the consumer usage study was warranted.

The company, in its marketer’s statement, said, “Guthy-Renker is very pleased with ERSP’s determination that all of the challenged claims for Cold Plasma Sub-D are substantiated, and that the changes Guthy-Renker voluntarily agreed to make in relation to certain disclaimers are appropriate. Guthy-Renker is a long-time supporter of the self-regulatory process and appreciates ERSP’s review.”