BBB National Programs Archive

ERSP Recommends Milex Modify, Discontinue Certain Claims For “Ab Transfom System”

New York, NY – August 30, 2010 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has recommended that Milex modify or discontinue certain claims made in direct response advertising for the Ab Transform System.

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’s through a competitive challenge.


ERSP examined claims in broadcast and online advertising that included:

  • · “Now you can transform your abs from tubby to toned, from saggy to sexy, from flabby to flat, quickly and easily.” [accompanied by before and after depictions
  • · “Thermographic imaging confirms how the Ab Transform belt effectively distributes heat through the entire core generating superior muscle stimulation”
  • · “It’s like I’m doing crunches but I’m standing up”
    • · “The secret is our advanced electro muscular stimulation, or EMS, a scientifically proven technology, FDA cleared and used by professional athletes, top physical therapists, and even NASA.” [accompanied by text on screen “SCIENTIFICALLLY PROVEN” AND “FDA CLEARED”]


At the outset, the marketer informed ERSP that the broadcast advertising was disseminated for test-market purposes and has been discontinued. However, because the claims at issue continued to be disseminated on the official product Website and on streaming video contained on the Website, ERSP continued with its review.

ERSP determined that one message communicated by the claim “Now you can transform your abs from tubby to toned, from saggy to sexy, from flabby to flat, quickly and easily,” combined with images of men and women going from flabby abs to six-pack abs, was that users of the products could obtain such results easily and simply solely through use of the Ab Transform Ab Belt without adhering to any diet and exercise regimen. ERSP recommended that the marketer either modify or discontinue these types of core claims in future advertising.

ERSP determined that the claim “superior muscle stimulation” could be interpreted as comparative performance claim and recommended that it be discontinued.

Further, ERSP determined that the EMS technology claim may create in consumers’ minds a distinction between the EMS technology used by Milex and the technology used by competitors. ERSP recommended the company modify the claim to avoid the potential for such a distinction.

ERSP recommended that future advertising should clarify that the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval for ab belts is limited to the temporary strengthening, toning and firming of the abdominal muscles.

The company, in its marketer’s statement, said that while “we may not completely agree with your analysis and conclusions we will strongly consider your recommendations as we modify certain aspects of the video spots. We will also look to adjust our future advertising so that the claims are presented in a manner that eliminates the potential misinterpretation by the consumer.”