BBB National Programs Archive
Iovate Health Sciences, Wellnx Particpate In ERSP Forum
New York, NY –August 29 , 2007 – The Electronic Retailing Self -Regulation Program (ERSP) has determined that Iovate Health Sciences International, Inc., has provided a reasonable basis for certain claims for the Aplodan body-building dietary supplement, but recommended the company modify or discontinue certain claims. The marketer’s advertising was challenged by WellNx Life Sciences, a competing manufacturer of nutritional supplements.
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).
Claims at issue in the ERSP inquiry included:
- “allowing you to train with unprecedented strength and build muscle like never before”
- “Scientifically Researched in over 30 Independent Studies”
- “…activate high threshold dormant fibers and achieve 83% more muscle fiber activation for rapid gains in muscle size and strength”
- “The World’s First and Only Dormant Muscle Fiber Activator” “Aplodan’s ability to recruit dormant myofibers earlier increases the efficacy of your training to stimulate muscle growth.” [Dr. Victor Prisk] “I wish Aplodan had been available when I started bodybuilding. I could have built muscle so much faster! Now that I take Aplodan everyday my muscles have literally exploded with new growth. It feels like my chest, delts, back and arms have doubled in size” [Jay Cutler, Mr. Olympia]
ERSP determined that general product performance claims were adequately supported by the evidence in the record, which included the results of two clinical trials on Aplodan’s primary ingredients.
ERSP recommended that the marketer modify its “Scientifically Researched in Over 30 Studies” claim to specify that creatinol-O-phosphate (COP) and not the product itself has been the subject of the published research. ERSP further recommended the marketer discontinue both the use of the term “dormant muscle fibers” and depictions in the context of the current advertising.
While acknowledging that the marketer’s testing demonstrated increased levels of muscle fiber activation, ERSP concluded that the evidence did not provide adequate support for the quantified claim that Aplodan provides “83% more muscle fiber activation” or its claim to be “The World’s First and Only Dormant Muscle Fiber Activator.
ERSP concluded that the patented blend of ingredients in Aplodan is unlike other competitive products on the market and found that the marketer’s claims regarding the unique nature of Aplodan are supported by the evidence in the record.
ERSP agreed with the marketer that Dr. Prisk’s credentials qualified him as an expert endorser pursuant to the FTC Testimonial and Endorsement Guide but recommended that the marketer discontinue the claim that “Aplodan’s ability to facilitate activation of dormant myofibers increases the efficacy of your training to stimulate muscle growth.”
ERSP determined that Jay Cutler’s statements endorsing Aplodan were appropriate and that the marketer need not disclose that the endorser used other muscle building supplements and engaged in a separate training regimen.
The company, in its marketer’s statement, said “Iovate is pleased that ERSP found the general product performance claims for Aplodan to be substantiated by the COP and Gaggino studies.”
The company noted that it agrees with ERSP “that the sophistication of the bodybuilding target audience was a fundamental principle in this case. This is precisely why Iovate respectfully disagrees with ERSP’s determination that bodybuilders will misinterpret the ‘dormant muscle fiber concept,’ the claim for ‘83% more muscle fiber activation,’ and certain claims by the Aplodan celebrity endorser. Nevertheless, out of deference to the forum, future advertising will be consistent with the ERSP decision on these issues.”