BBB National Programs Archive

ERSP Reviews Advertising for ‘Amacari,’ Recommends Marketer Modify or Discontinue Certain Claims

New York, NY – Oct. 30, 2015 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has recommended that Amazon Origins modify or discontinue certain advertising claims for Amacari, a dietary 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 an anonymous competitive challenge.

Amazon Origins promotes Amacari as a supplement formulated with the camu camu berry. ERSP reviewed broadcast and online advertising claims for Amacari, including:

• “Main Benefits of Amacari: Increased immune function, Fights oxidative damage and the signs of aging, Potent antioxidants that protect cells from free radicals, Offers joint support with significant levels of betulinic acid, Increased energy, balanced mood and mental clarity”
• “This little fruit has more powerful nutrients in it than all the other so-called superfruits combined – more than the goji berry, more than the nopal fruit, and more than the acai berry.”
• “It is literally a shopping cart full of fruit and vegetable benefits in just one cup of camu camu. You know what that breaks down to? 83 oranges for Vitamin C, 40 peaches for glutamic acid, 14 carrots, 12 spears of asparagus for valine, 9 tomatoes for leucine, 2 stalks of broccoli for calcium, 25 stalks of celery for iron, 6 pounds of watermelon for serine, plus a banana for potassium, 165 red grapes for magnesium, 4 apples for phosphorous, and a pineapple for proline”
• “And it doesn’t take very long. In a couple of days, you will absolutely feel all of these things going to work in your body and the thing you notice when you stop it, you just don’t feel as good.”

In support of its claims, the marketer provided ERSP with several studies performed on the camu camu berry and with literature that explored the antioxidant levels found in Amacari as compared to other “superfruits.”

Following its review, ERSP determined that one reasonable consumer takeaway from the claims at issue is that the purported health and nutritional benefits attributed to camu fruit also apply to Amacari. ERSP recommended the marketer discontinue such claims in the context in which they appeared.
ERSP did not object to claims that focused on the formulation of the product, including, “This is 100% pure camu camu berry, that’s the only thing that’s in here by the way, it’s not mixed with anything else.”

However, ERSP recommended that the marketer discontinue the claim, “… has more powerful nutrients in it than all the other so-called superfruits combined.”

Although ERSP did not dispute Amazon Origins’ position that the documentation on the camu berry provided supportive evidence for the fruit’s “overall antioxidant capacity and otherwise robust nutritional composition,” ERSP found that establishment claims implying that the product has been “backed by studies that the drug companies don’t want you to know about” and shown to “ … help repair cell damage, neutralize free radicals, and combat the challenges of aging” were not adequately supported.

Finally, ERSP recommended that the marketer discontinue its consumer testimonials until any such representations can be supported by adequate and reliable evidence.

The company, in its marketer’s statement, said, “We acknowledge ERSP’s concerns regarding the need for additional research, in particular human clinical trials, to further underscore the efficacy of the product in question, Amaçari. Currently we are not actively airing the commercial that was the subject of the review, and while we have not yet been able to identify a specific strategy or timeline for doing so we agree to take ERSP’s recommendations and stipulations into account in any future marketing of the product.”