BBB National Programs Archive

ERSP Reviews Advertising for ‘Active Mind,’ Recommends Marketer Modify or Discontinue Certain Claims, Finds Marketer Can Make Limited Claims Regarding Ingredients’ Benefits

New York, NY – June 27, 2016 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has recommended that Puritan’s Pride modify or discontinue certain advertising claims for Active Mind, a dietary supplement marketed to improve attention, mental clarity, and focus, but found that the marketer can make limited claims regarding the benefits of the ingredients found in the supplement.

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 advertising claims for Active Mind, including:

  • “Caffeine and the ingredient theanine were tested in double blind placebo controlled studies and were SCIENTIFICALLY SHOWN to improve clarity and focus.”; “Supports mental clarity and focus”; “Assists with attention”; “Supports mental clarity by assisting with attention”; “Now you can have improved ATTENTION, increased CLARITY, and more commanding FOCUS.”
  • “CDP choline offers longer-term benefits, so you enjoy improved mental clarity and focus throughout the day and every day.”
  • “Begins working in about 60 minutes”; “Active Mind contains Theanine and Caffeine, which provide benefits within approximately 60 minutes.”; “In about 60 minutes, Active Mind will begin to increase your mental performance! That’s not hype. That’s science.”

Following its review, ERSP recommended the marketer discontinue express and implied claims that the ingredients caffeine, L-theanine and citicoline were “scientifically shown” to “improve” attention. ERSP also recommended that certain attention and focus claims be modified to demonstrate the interrelated nature of the concepts, consistent with the evidence provided. However, ERSP did find that the marketer could make limited claims regarding the benefits of the ingredients, e.g., caffeine and L-theanine help support focus by assisting with attention and that citicoline helps support cognitive function.

Additionally, ERSP recommended that the “improved mental clarity” claims, the “CDP choline offers longer-term benefits” claims, and the “[b]egins working in about 60 minutes” claims be discontinued, given the absence of clear, supporting evidence.

ERSP agreed with the marketer that claims such as, “Every Puritan’s Pride product starts with the finest ingredients sourced from around the world” and “When you choose Puritan’s Pride you are getting nutritional products made with the highest quality ingredients available, were non-actionable puffery.

Finally, with respect to the limited time offer claims, Puritan’s Pride indicated that it would voluntarily remove such claims.

The company, in its marketer’s statement, said, “Puritan’s Pride supports the self-regulatory process and commends ERSP for its efforts to promote responsible advertising…. The ERSP’s findings demonstrate that Puritan’s Pride’s claims with regard to its Active Mind Product, namely that caffeine and l-theanine support focus by assisting with attention and that citicoline supports cognitive function, are substantiated. Although Puritan’s Pride disagrees with ERSP’s other recommendations, Puritan’s Pride will take ERSP’s recommendations into consideration in future advertising.”