BBB National Programs Archive

ERSP Reviews Advertising For Belly Burner

New York, NY –March 16, 2011 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has recommended that 2 Elevens, LLC, modify certain advertising claims made in direct-response advertising for the Belly Burner weight-loss belt.

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). Advertising for the Belly Burner, a neoprene belt that is sold with an exercise DVD and diet plan, came to the attention of ERSP through ERSP’s regular monitoring of direct-response advertising.

(Full text of decision available to media, upon request)

ERSP reviewed advertising claims made in broadcast and online advertising, including:

Performance Claims
• “Burn fat faster while: walking; biking; jogging; any form of exercise!”
• “Get rid of belly fat and have amazing abs”
• “It safely and naturally generates more heat which increases your metabolic rate and speeds up the calorie burning process which means more weight loss!”
• “Just wrap up and slim down”
• “You have nothing to lose but pounds and inches”
• “Burns more calories faster”
• “The belly burner increases your thermal core temperature to shed away unwanted inches.”
• “Heat vision photography shows how the belly burner raises your body’s core temperature supercharging the calorie burning process and accelerating the fat
burning energy needed to trim down those love handles and belly fat.”
• “get your amazing weight loss belt now”
• “With The Belly Burner you will lose inches around your waist and love handles just by wearing it during your daily activities or exercise.”
• “…increases your thermal core temperature to shed away unwanted inches”

Consumer testimonials
• “Lost 60 pounds & 12 inches in just 10 weeks” [Debi Mazar]
• “Lost 6 belt sizes in 8 weeks” [Carlos Mencia]

ERSP also expressed concern regarding the omission of material information in the consumer testimonials regarding the generally expected product performance.

In this case, the marketer argued that its claims clearly disclosed that results were based on the use of the Belly Burner belt in conjunction with a meal plan, calorie counter and exercise DVD.

Following its review of the advertising, however, ERSP determined that consumers could take away the message that use of the Belly Burner belt alone could produce the advertised results. ERSP recommended the marketer modify its advertising to more clearly and conspicuously disclose that the results depicted are based on a consumer’s use of all program components.

As support for its performance claims, the advertiser submitted a third-party “thermographic” study on a single person. The advertiser contended that thermographic images demonstrated that the Belly Burner increased the user’s thermal core temperature. In addition, the marketer also presented ERSP with a calorimetry study that showed an increase in the per-minute rate of calorie expenditure.

ERSP noted that while the thermographic images produced during the study indicated that using the Belly Burner during routine physical activities will increase the temperature of the subject’s abdominal area, it nevertheless concluded that the marketer did not adequately show that the images were representative of typical product performance. ERSP determined that the images did not provide a reasonable basis for claims of increased fat burning, calorie burning, or inches lost, and recommended that the marketer modify the advertising to clearly reflect the relevancy of the images.

The marketer said it was in the process of discontinuing the two testimonials at issue. ERSP confirmed these testimonials no longer appear in the streaming video on the Belly Burner Website.

In its marketer’s statement, 2 Elevens, LLC strongly disagreed with ERSP’s determinations, but said “…future advertisements [will] contain reference to adherence to all of the component aspects of the Belly Burner product…”