BBB National Programs Archive
NAD RECOMMENDS GRAVITY DEFYER DISCONTINUE CERTAIN HEALTH-BENEFITS CLAIMS FOR ‘GRAVITY DEFYER’ SHOES Finds Advertiser Can Support Certain Claims Based on Product Design
New York, New York – Dec. 15, 2011 – The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better
Business Bureaus Claims has recommended that Gravity Defyer, Inc., discontinue advertising claims
that promote certain health benefits associated with wearing the company’s Gravity Defyer shoes.
NAD determined, however, that the advertiser’s evidence supported claims based on the product’s
design and features.
NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, examined claims made in print advertising,
including the claims:
• “Scientifically engineered to Defy Gravity.”
• “Defy Pain, Defy Aging, Defy Fatigue.”
• “They ease the force of gravity, relieving stress on your heels, ankles, knees and back. They
boost your energy by propelling you forward.”
• “GDefy Benefits:
o Relieve pain
o Ease joint & spinal pressure
o Reduce fatigue & tiredness
o Be more active
o Have more energy
o Appear taller
o Jump higher, walk and run faster.
o Have instant comfort
o Cool your feet & reduce foot odor
o Elevate your performance
• “85% — ankle and foot pain gone.”
• “90% — Exercise 20% longer with no fatigue.”
• “87% — 4 out of 5 purchase another pair within 3 months.”
• “97% — Most comfortable shoe ever.”
NAD noted in its decision that the that the challenged claims “defy gravity” and “Scientifically
Engineered to Defy Gravity” are similar to a claim made by the advertiser in a prior NAD proceeding
involving Gravity Defyer shoes: “The Only Shoes that make you feel like you are defying gravity.”
(Full text of decision available upon request.)
In the earlier case, NAD determined that this claim constituted permissible puffery and that
reasonable consumers would be unlikely to expect that footwear allows them to actually defy the
laws of physics. NAD concluded that the same holds true in this case. NAD also determined that the
advertiser’s non-health related benefits claims (“appear taller,” “cool your feet & reduce foot odor,”
and “have instant comfort”) were supported based on the product’s design and features.
However, NAD concluded that many of the claims at issue were health-related and required
competent and reliable scientific evidence as support. While the advertiser submitted extensive
scientific literature on impact force on the musculoskeletal system, a detailed explanation of the
design of its shoe and the results of certain testing on the product, it did not provide NAD with
critical information concerning the test methodology. Following its review of the evidence, NAD
determined that the advertiser’s test was insufficient to support its health-related product
performance and benefit claims.
NAD recommended the advertiser discontinue quantified health-related claims
and the consumer testimonial at issue.
The company, in its advertiser’s statement, said that it “respectfully disagrees with the NAD’s
conclusions concerning certain other performance and testimonial claims,” but “supports industry
self-regulation, and appreciates the NAD’s efforts. It will make appropriate adjustments to its new
advertising consistent with the NAD’s recommendations.”
NAD’s inquiry was conducted under NAD/CARU/NARB Procedures for the Voluntary Self-Regulation of National Advertising. Details of the initial inquiry, NAD’s decision, and the advertiser’s response will be included in the next NAD/CARU Case Report.
About Advertising Industry Self-Regulation: The National Advertising Review Council (NARC) was formed in 1971. NARC establishes the policies and procedures for the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the CBBB’s Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) and the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP).
The NARC Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the American Advertising Federation, Inc. (AAF), American Association of Advertising Agencies, Inc., (AAAA), the Association of National Advertisers, Inc. (ANA), Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc. (CBBB), Direct Marketing Association (DMA), Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) and Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). Its purpose is to foster truth and accuracy in national advertising through voluntary self-regulation.
NAD, CARU and ERSP are the investigative arms of the advertising industry’s voluntary self-regulation program. Their casework results from competitive challenges from other advertisers, and also from self-monitoring traditional and new media. NARB, the appeals body, is a peer group from which ad-hoc panels are selected to adjudicate NAD/CARU cases that are not resolved at the NAD/CARU level. This unique, self-regulatory system is funded entirely by the business community; CARU is financed by the children’s advertising industry, while NAD/NARC/NARB’s primary source of funding is derived from membership fees paid to the CBBB. ERSP’s funding is derived from membership in the Electronic Retailing Association. For more information about advertising industry self-regulation, please visit www.narcpartners.org.