BBB National Programs Archive

ERSP Reviews Advertising for ‘Relaxium Sleep,’ Recommends Marketer Modify, Discontinue Certain Claims

New York, NY –May 15, 2018– The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has recommended American Behavioral Institutes, LLC modify or discontinue claims made in online advertising for Relaxium Sleep 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 its ongoing monitoring program.

ERSP reviewed online and broadcast advertising claims for Relaxium Sleep and identified several claims for review, including:

  • “In a double-blind placebo controlled clinical trial evaluating the ingredients in Relaxium Sleep, participants reported, their ability to sleep improved by up to 71%. Reduced stress and anxiety by up to 70%. Boosted daytime energy by up to 53%. Improved concentration by up to 50%. Improved the quality of their lives …”
  • “Enjoy restful and relaxing sleep with clinically studied Relaxium Sleep”
  • “Fall asleep faster & sleep through the night”; “Wake up completely refreshed”; “Reduce stress, anxiety & boost energy”; “Enhance focus & concentration”
  • “#1 Doctor Formulated, All-Natural Sleep Aid”
  • Relaxium Sleep is a unique blend of safe, clinically-tested ingredients that help you sleep better naturally without the harmful side-effects of prescription or over-the-counter sleeping pills!”

As support for the establishment claims made in the advertisements, the marketer submitted a double-blind placebo controlled clinical trial evaluating the proprietary formula in Relaxium Sleep. ERSP expressed its concerns about the clinical study, and, as a result, recommended the marketer discontinue any express and implied performance claims that conveyed the message that the product itself was “clinically studied” to provide specific benefits. ERSP also recommended that the marketer discontinue the use of “up to” claims in the advertising.

The marketer also submitted ingredient-specific clinical studies to support several of the claims. After reviewing the evidence in the case record, ERSP determined that specific performance claims, pertaining to the ability to fall asleep faster and for a longer duration, wake up feeling refreshed and reduced anxiety could be supported by the ingredient-specific studies. Consequently, ERSP recommended the marketer modify the claims to make clear that these performance claims are linked to specific ingredients in Relaxium Sleep, as opposed to the clinical study of the formula.

ERSP also recommended the marketer discontinue any comparative and monadic claims that Relaxium Sleep will have no side effects. Additionally, ERSP concluded that the marketer could not substantiate the implied claim that Relaxium Sleep is the most effective or best-selling non-prescription sleep aid. However, ERSP did recognize that it is a truthful statement the Relaxium Sleep was formulated by a doctor.

Finally, ERSP determined that the negative option feature (presented as a “free trial offer” and enrollment in a continuity program), as it currently appears online, does not provide an adequate mechanism to obtain a consumer’s affirmative consent to the automatic renewal plan. Furthermore, ERSP recommended that the duration of the free trial offer and material information should be clearly and conspicuously disclosed within the context of the offer.

The company, in its marketer’s statement, said, “American Behavioral Research Institute, LLC appreciates the close and careful review of its advertising claims and the substantiation for those claims conducted by ERSP as part of the self-regulatory process for the direct response industry. American Behavioral Research Institute, LLC will follow the views expressed by ERSP in future advertising for Relaxium Sleep.”