BBB National Programs Archive

ERSP Reviews Advertising for shUVee

Recommends Marketer Modify Establishment Claims;Marketer Voluntarily Discontinues Several Claims

New York, NY – June 13, 2012 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has recommended that Angel Sales, Inc. modify or discontinue establishment claims for the shUVee Shoe Deodorizer. The marketer of the product, promoted as an ultraviolet shoe deodorizer, voluntarily discontinued several claims that were the subject of the ERSP inquiry.

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 claims at issue in ERSP’s review were challenged by Shoe Care Innovations, and included:

• “The shUVee Ultraviolet Shoe Deodorizer – Stops Odor, Kills Germs, Works in One Hour!”
• “The shUVee™ Ultraviolet Shoe Deodorizer uses the power of UV light to sanitize the surface areas inside your shoes.” and “The pure cleaning power of UV light, along with a short period of time, is all that is needed to sanitize the inside of your shoes.”
• “The shUVee™ Ultraviolet Shoe Deodorizer is the solution for killing shoe odor and bacteria.”
• “Clinical studies prove that the shUVee Ultraviolet Shoe Deodorizer kills the germs that cause foot odor and renders the shoes odor neutral. The ultraviolet light kills germs that are associated with Athlete’s Foot, Nail Fungus, and MRSA.”
• “Clinically proven to kill germs.” and “Clinically proven to kill germs, the shUVee™ Ultraviolet Shoe Deodorizer really works.”
• “Many podiatrists are offering the shUVee to their patients as a form of preventative health. Examples include: Patients receiving laser nail fungus treatments; Patients complaining of intense shoe odor and embarrassment; Patients with Athlete’s Foot.”

The shUVee consists of a base, which houses a fan, and two vertical wands that direct upward into a pair of treated shoes. According the marketer, the product works by emitting and exposing shoes to germicidal wavelengths of ultraviolet light, hereby reducing the presence of microbes in treated shoes.

In response to ERSP’s initial inquiry, Angel Sales said that it had – prior to ERSP’s review – stopped promoting shUVee as a shoe sanitizer and had voluntarily discontinued all references to sanitization in its advertising. However, the marketer said it would continue to advertise the shUVee as a shoe deodorizer.

The marketer contended that remaining performance and establishment claims were supported by laboratory tests; one test was performed by a shUVee prototype on pieces of cloth. The second was performed by the shUVee on pieces of plastic. Neither test evaluated the product’s performance when used on a shoe.

Following its review of the evidence in the record, ERSP determined that the results were not sufficient to support the establishment claims, particularly those that promise quantified results.

ERSP recognized, however,  that the testing did demonstrate the effectiveness of the shUVee in reducing various types of fungi and bacteria. As such, ERSP did not object to general claims pertaining to the shUVee’s ability to “stop odor” or “kill germs.”

ERSP also recommended that Angel Sales modify its claim that “Many podiatrists are offering the shUVee to their patients as a form of preventative health” to accurately convey that a select, limited group of podiatrists have suggested the product.

The company, in its marketer’s statement, said that it “… accepts the conclusion of ERSP in regards to the establishment claims regarding precise quantified results…” and…”will pursue a testing protocol of real-world conditions to support current claims.  The marketing and advertising will be reviewed for revision.”