BBB National Programs Archive

ITV Agrees To Modify Advertising

New York, NY – June 14, 2005 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (“ERSP”), the electronic direct-response industry’s self-regulatory forum supervised by the National Advertising Review Council (“NARC”), announced that direct response marketer ITV has been asked to either discontinue or significantly modify its 30-minute infomercial for the Sea Vegg Nutritional Supplement.  The truth and accuracy of the marketer’s claims came to the attention of ERSP through its ongoing monitoring program.

In the inquiry, ERSP requested that the marketer provide substantiation for several core performance and establishment claims that were communicated in its advertising campaign for the Sea Vegg Nutritio nal Supplement. The representative claims at issue included: general performance claims (i.e.,  “…rebalances the thyroid.” and “…helped my mother’s MS.”); weight loss claims (i.e., “Stabilize your weight…despite your eating habits.”); ingredient claims (i.e., ““Removes toxins and heavy metals”); health and safety claims ( i.e., “Incredibly, the destruction of these [cancerous] tumors was observed to take place without affecting normal cells.”); and establishment claims (i.e., “We have all the science behind it.”).

ERSP found that although the marketer did provide a plethora of studies and articles on the benefits of seaweed, the marketer did not conduct any studies on the specifically advertised product nor did it conduct testing on the ingredients at the same strength in which they are contained in the product. As such, ERSP concluded that the marketer could not support the claims of general product performance, health and safety and weight loss. ERSP was also concerned that many of the claims made by ITV that were based on the testing of individual ingredients in Sea Vegg would be understood by consumers as being attributable to the advertised product when, in fact, they are not. Lastly, ERSP did not object to references to the scientific research on seaweed, but suggested that ITV clarify to consumers that its research is limited to ingredients in seaweed and should not be understood as being applicable to Sea Vegg. As such, ERSP recommends that ITV either make substantial and significant modifications to the advertising or discontinue the advertising completely.

In response to ERSP’s decision, ITV stated it “… is pleased to have participated in a spirited debate with ERSP and … appreciates ERSP’s acknowledgement of the general health benefits of seaweed. ITV has reviewed ERSP’s findings and analysis of the advertisement and respectfully disagrees.  Despite ITV’s disagreement we will immediately modify our website and take ERSP’s recommendations under consideration for all future modifications or edits of the advertisement.”