BBB National Programs Archive

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

New York, NY – May 10, 2016 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has recommended that Ideal Living modify or discontinue certain advertising claims for back Bubble, a device marketed to help relieve back pain.

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 broadcast and online advertising claims for Back Bubble, including:

  •  “RELIEVE BACK PAIN IN SECONDS!”; “The Back Bubble, relieves back pain in seconds, guaranteed”; “*The Back Bubble helps to provide temporary relief from lower back pain. Long term relief from ongoing use of the Back Bubble varies by individual condition.”
  • Stopping Back Pain For Life.”; “For ongoing pain relief, use the Back Bubble for only a few minutes in the morning, night or anytime you feel pain.”
  • “Are you tired of pills, expensive treatments, and worrying about back surgery?”
  • “Call now and take advantage of this special introductory TV offer…. Remember this is a limited time offer and not available in stores.”

In support of its claims, the marketer provided ERSP with pilot studies performed on the Back Bubble and research on gravitational inversion devices. It also submitted numerous letters from doctors, customers and other health professionals.

Following its review, ERSP determined that the marketer’s claim that the product will relieve back pain “in seconds” was an overstatement and recommended Ideal Living modify its pain relief claim to more accurately indicate that the product provides pain relief “quickly” or “in minutes” following directed use of the product.

ERSP also agreed that the information submitted by the marketer provided a reasonable basis to support long term benefits with ongoing use of the product, but recommended that the marketer discontinue or modify its “Stopping Back Pain For Life” claim to be more consistent with long-term pain relief.

ERSP determined that it would not be unreasonable for consumers to interpret the claim, “You could spend thousands of dollars on constant visits to back pain specialists and, even worse, costly pain pills and still suffer from debilitating back pain.  But look no further the pain stops here” as a comparative superiority claim. The marketer agreed to modify its claims in a way that eliminates the potential for consumers to interpret the representation as a superior comparative performance claim.

With respect to the limited time offer claims, Ideal Living indicated that it would voluntarily remove such claims. The marketer also agreed to make several modifications to its exclusivity, pricing and comparative claims.

The company, in its marketer’s statement, said, “Ideal Living appreciates the opportunity to participate in the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program’s self-regulatory process. Ideal Living is committed to ensuring that its advertising is truthful, accurate, and substantiated. We welcome ERSP’s decision regarding advertising for the Back Bubble product, and we will gladly adhere to its recommendations.”