BBB National Programs Archive

ERSP Recommends Nathan’s Natural Discontinue Claims, Testimonials For “Vilift Anit-Depressant”

New York, NY – Oct. 1, 2009 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has determined that Nathan’s Natural acted properly when it voluntarily discontinued several advertising claims for the company’s “ViLift Anti-Depressant Formula.” However, ERSP recommended the marketer discontinue remaining claims and testimonials. The marketer’s advertising came to ERSP’s attention pursuant to a consumer complaint.

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).

ERSP examined claims in online advertising that included:

• “Introducing the only herbal formula that gets rid of depression &
anxiety as fast as 20 minutes!”
• “Natural cures for depression – guaranteed!”
• “Clinically proven – real people, real results”
• “Rated superior to medications and other supplements”
• “So, why would you chose to take an expensive, slow acting formula that takes weeks to work and is full of awful side effects, when you could start feeling better in a matter of minutes with ViLift?”

The marketer represented that ViLift is a dietary supplement formulated from Scuttelaria Latreflora, Panax Quinquefolius, also known as Korean Ginseng, and Vitamin B Complex.

ERSP noted in its decision that the advertiser either significantly revised or discontinued certain claims at issue, including claims that the product is “clinically proven,” and “rated superior.” Further, ERSP noted that the marketer has made an effort to curb claims that the product provides an immediate (“in 20 minutes”) cure for depression and anxiety.

However, ERSP noted that the revised advertising for the product included new performance, comparative, and safety claims that are not supported by evidence provided by marketer.

Although the marketer referenced the historical herbal efficacy of the product’s primary ingredients, it did not present evidence that would indicate the product – or the ingredients at the level at which they are present in the product – have been reliably demonstrated to “cure” either depression or anxiety.

Further, ERSP determined that the consumer testimonials featured in the advertising are not in compliance with the Federal Trade Commission’s Guide on the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. ERSP recommended that the marketer discontinue these claims from the official product Website and from other affiliated Websites.

The company, in its marketer’s statement, said that although it disagreed with ERSP’s conclusions “regarding certain comparative claims, Nathan’s Natural will follow ESRP’s recommendations and act accordingly. Nathan’s Natural is pleased to have participated in ERSP’s self-regulatory process.”