BBB National Programs Archive

ERSP Reviews Advertising For Iovate “Smartburn”

New York, NY – September 5, 2006 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) announced that Iovate Health Sciences International (Iovate), marketers of the SmartBurn with Hoodia Weight Loss Supplement (SmartBurn), have provided a reasonable basis for all general performance and establishment claims as well as doctor and consumer testimonial claims. ERSP has recommended the marketer modify certain claims.  The marketer’s advertising was reviewed pursuant to an anonymous challenge.

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 reviewed core claims that include:


  • “Two published, 8-week, double-blind clinical studies show that with the key ingredients in SmartBurn, you can lose up to 450 percent of  the weight than if you were to follow a diet and exercise plan alone. “
  • “Rapid Weight Loss for Women”
  • “Whether it’s your belly, thighs, or buttocks, troublesome spots won’t be a problem because SmartBurn helps you achieve rapid total-body weight loss.”
  • “I went from a size 10 to a size 4 in just 12 weeks…” “Kimberly lost 22 pounds thanks to SmartBurn with Hoodia.” “Stressed out? … SmartBurn with Hoodia is a scientific weight-loss
  • breakthrough with ingredients that burn fat . . . while promoting relaxation to help you manage stress.”  (Dr. Jennifer R. Glover)

Following its review of the evidence, which included two well-designed, peer reviewed, double blinded, placebo controlled studies that resulted in statistically significant data, ERSP determined that the marketer provided adequate support for Iovate’s establishment claims and a sufficient basis for its claim of appetite control. However, ERSP also determined that the advertising, without certain modifications, when viewed as whole, could be interpreted by consumers as communicating “targeted” weight-loss claims.

ERSP concluded that while there is some question whether the weight loss demonstrated in the studies would be consistent with consumer expectations of claims of “rapid” weight loss, ERSP was satisfied that consumers would understand the time of product performance being relied on by the marketer in making the claim

ERSP determined  that the exclusivity claim as communicated could be ambiguously interpreted by consumers as communicating the unsupported message that SmartBurn is “the world’s first powerful and effective weight-loss product” that additionally provides a stress management benefit as well.

Regarding the consumer testimonial claims, it was determined that the statement that “Kimberly lost 22 pounds thanks to SmartBurn with Hoodia” was supported because the weight loss was within range of the results reported in the studies.

Lastly, ERSP determined that Iovate’s claim that SmartBurn is “doctor formulated” was sufficiently supported and that Dr. Glover’s endorsement of SmartBurn was appropriate.

In response to ERSP’s findings, Iovate stated it “… appreciates ERSP’s careful consideration of the relevant science and its conclusion that the principal weight loss claims for SmartBurn are substantiated by competent and reliable  scientific  evidence.   Iovate will closely  consider ERSP’s  recommendations  on the secondary claims and changes to future advertising that are consistent with this decision.”