BBB National Programs Archive
ERSP Finds M&M, Inc. Can Support Certain Claims For “Flex Belt”, Marketer Discontinues Certain Claims
New York, NY – May 27, 2011 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program has determined that M&M, Inc. has provided adequate support for performance claims made in direct response advertising for the Flex Belt. The marketer voluntarily discontinued several other claims that were the subject of the ERSP inquiry.
ERSP, the electronic direct-response industry’s self-regulatory forum, is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) with policy oversight by the National Advertising Review Council (NARC).
The marketer’s advertising came to the attention of ERSP pursuant to its ongoing self- monitoring program.
ERSP reviewed broadcast and online advertising for the Flex Belt, and identified several claims for review, including:
- “The Flex Belt easily tightens, tones, and firms abdominal muscles.”
- “Flex Belt’s advanced electronic muscle stimulation basically does all the work for you.”
- “Wearing it is all you have to do to get results, demonstrated results in just 6 weeks.”
- “Safe, sensible and FDA cleared.”
- “As a result, you get an effective abdominal workout that targets all the muscles in your abdomen – all in just 30 minutes a day.”
- “The Flex Belt will stimulate all your stomach muscles causing contractions that provide you with the perfect crunch – that means your upper abs, the lower abs an even your obliques are going to get worked from The Flex Belt…and it does all the work for you.”
- “Used daily you should see results in 4-8 weeks.”
- “Demonstrated Study Results You Can FEEL In Just Weeks.”
- “We saw a 49% increase in abdominal strength and 72% increase in abdominal endurance which are phenomenal results.”
- “One of the things I noticed right away was the strength of the contraction I got versus some of the other machines.” [John P. Porcari]
ERSP also reviewed claims included in consumer testimonials, including:
- “I use the Flex Belt for my abs. There are a lot of other products, but they can’t beat the Flex Belt for effectiveness.” [Janet Evans]
- “I’ve lost 15 lbs and my stomach muscles are rock hard…” [Casey C.]
- “I lost about 3 inches in my stomach area in less than 2 months, and I am sure I will loose more, the more I use the belt.” [Nazek S.]
- “My waist lost three inches in three weeks.” [Ross C.]
- “It’s now May and I have already lost 4 inches off my waist and 15 lbs total.” [Kasha J.]
At the outset, M&M, Inc. informed ERSP that the Flex Belt is manufactured by Bio-Medical Research, Ltd., which also makes the Slendertone line of abdominal belts, a product whose advertising was reviewed by ERSP in 2005. The marketer explained that the two products are considered the same for safety and efficacy purposes by the FDA and thus, research conducted on the Slendertone belt is applicable to the Flex Belt.
M&M, Inc. provided ERSP with several studies demonstrating the effectiveness of the Slendertone belt in improving abdominal strength and endurance. ERSP determined that this information provided a reasonable basis for the performance and establishment claims made in direct response advertising for the Flex Belt.
The marketer also informed ERSP that it would voluntarily remove consumer testimonials that include express claims of inch loss, weight loss, and six-pack ab-type statements. Additionally, M&M, Inc. agreed to remove Janet Evans’ testimonial (i.e., “I use the Flex Belt for my abs. There are a lot of other products, but they can’t beat the Flex Belt for effectiveness”).
The company, in its advertiser’s statement said, “M&M, Inc., is pleased to have participated in the ERSP process … M&M recognizes and appreciates ERSP’s rationale with regard to those modifications made to the website and will consider them when developing future advertising content.”