BBB National Programs Archive
ERSP Recommends Leading Edge Discontinue Certain Claims For Male Enhancement Product
New York, NY – September 30, 2010 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has recommended that Leading Edge Marketing, Inc., modify or discontinue certain advertising claims for its VigRX line of male enhancement products. ERSP further recommended that the marketer better disclose to consumers that it owns the Website “BetterSexMall.com,” where its products are reviewed and better disclose whether the reviews are written by employees or independent third parties.
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 ERSP’s attention through an anonymous competitive complaint.
ERSP examined claims made in broadcast and online advertising for three Leading Edge products, VigRX, VigRX Plus and VigRX Oil. Claims at issue included:
- “Original VigRX(tm) is the often-imitated, never-equaled pill that powers masculinity in many ways: Used daily, VigRX(tm) increases blood circulation to the genital tissues, strengthens and tones sexual glands, supports the healthy production of sex hormones, and increases stamina and sex drive.”
- “Bigger, harder, longer lasting erections on demand.”
- “VigRX® has been scientifically developed to expand these erectile tissues and make them much larger. As it does this the erectile tissues can hold more blood than ever before.”
- “Still the #1 seller among men’s supplements worldwide!”
- “If you want to increase your sexual desire, stamina, and erection size and send your confidence off the charts, you owe it to yourself to try VigRX Plus(tm).”
- “Clinically Proven”
- “Doctor Approved Formula”
- “VigRX Oil(tm) improves circulation, expands erection capacity and enhances every aspect of male sexual health and function.”
- ““Our Doctor Approved Clinically Proven Formula with German Transdermal Delivery System brings MALE POWER ingredients instantly to the cells of the penis to intensify every aspect of sexual health and vigor.”
ERSP also reviewed the claims made for the BetterSexMall.com site, including:
- “Bettersexmall.com has one ultimate goal. Provide accurate and factual information to the general public allowing them to make an educated and informed purchase of a life changing enhancement product.”
- “We test and review the most popular products online”
- “honest & detailed product reviews”
- “We base our ratings on the most important metric: What products sell best? Sales volume is the most powerful ratings method…”
At the outset of ERSP’s inquiry, the marketer took certain steps to modify the Website, BetterSexMall.com. While ERSP determined that the marketer took some steps to improving disclosure information, ERSP found the marketer did not adequately disclose the material connections between Leading Edge Marketing, the products being reviewed, and the reviewers of the products and recommended the marketer take additional action. ERSP further noted that the marketer did not produce comparative sales data supporting the implied message that its product “sells best” and relied instead on anecdotal information such as “the number of affiliates who market the product” or the fact that Leading Edge Marketing may be a “global retailer.”
“Quite simply,” ERSP noted, “this type of information is not adequate support for a #1 sales claim.”
Following its review, ERSP noted that there have been no human studies on the VigRX product and determined that the marketer’s evidence “did not provide adequate support for the strong performance claims disseminated in the advertising.” ERSP recommended the marketer modify or discontinue the general efficacy claims at issue.
Regarding advertising claims made for VigRX Plus, ERSP noted that the advertiser submitted a triple blind, placebo controlled randomized study of 75 people that served to support claims related to desire, orgasmic functioning, and intercourse (overall) satisfaction. However, ERSP recommended that the marketer modify claims related to stamina and erection size, and “more powerful orgasms” to more accurately reflect the context in which the study data was presented.
Further, ERSP recommended the marketer modify claims that the product is “clinically proven,” or “Doctor Approved,” as they appeared in the context of the advertising at issue.
Regarding VigRx Oil, ERSP determined that that the toxicity studies submitted by the advertiser did not provide a reasonable basis for certain claims of product performance and efficacy, in the context in which they appeared. ERSP recommended the marketer modify or discontinue the claims.
The company, in its marketer’s statement, said “Leading Edge wishes to thank ERSP for its attention to detail and for its guidance on many matters, and for the professionalism with which the process was conducted. Leading Edge also looks forward to implementing additional changes that ERSP recommended.
“Leading Edge is pleased that ERSP recognized the value of its major human study…[and] is also pleased that ERSP appreciated the value of its numerous other efficacy and safety tests, conducted by laboratories from the U.S. to Europe to Asia, and the paper published in a peer-reviewed, scholarly journal on some of those tests,” the company said.