BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Recommends Origins Modify, Discontinue Certain Claims for Two ‘Plantscription’ Products

Company to Appeal NAD’s Findings to National Advertising Review Board

New York, NY – Sept. 11, 2012 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Origins Natural Resources, Inc., modify or discontinue certain advertising claims for the company’s anti-aging products “Plantscription Serum”  and “Plantscription Eye Treatment,” including claims that imply the products produce a benefit similar to prescription anti-aging treatments.

Origins said it will appeal all adverse NAD findings to the National Advertising Review Board.

NAD is an investigative arm of the advertising industry’s self-regulatory system and is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

As part of its ongoing, routine monitoring program, NAD requested substantiation for express and implied claims made in print advertising, including:

• “Nature’s Plantscription rivals an anti-wrinkle prescription”
• “88% of the visible wrinkle-reducing power of a prescription – 0% irritation”
• “Although it’s not a prescription, in just 4 weeks our raved-about anti-aging serum with Anogeissus noticeably reduces wrinkle length & depth”
• “Visibly helps repair the vertical fret lines between your eyes, the stubborn furrows across your forehead and the deepening frownies that frame your mouth.”
• “Experience our powerful, proven one-two punch in the fight against aging.”
• “Pair it with its new companion eye treatment and help visibly repair 4 major signs of aging.”
• “Clinically proven to help visibly repair 4 major signs of aging.”
• “So give your eyes this amazing new lift from nature and see a younger-looking you.”
• “Two dabs a day helps keep the surgeon away.”
• Plantscription Anti-aging Serum & Eye Treatment provides anti-aging benefits that are very similar to cosmetic surgery.
• Plantscription Anti-aging Serum and Eye Treatment are natural products.

In this case, NAD noted, the challenged advertisements explicitly compared the efficacy of Plantscription Anti-Aging Serum to a prescription drug, Renova.

It is well-established that where express or implied comparative performance claims are being made, head-to-head studies of the products at issue constitute the most reliable substantiation.  The advertiser submitted no such head-to-head comparative testing.

Following its review of the evidence in the record, NAD concluded that the claim “0% irritation” was supported, but recommended that the claims “Nature’s Plantscription rivals an anti-wrinkle prescription” and “88% of the visible wrinkle-reducing power of a prescription” be discontinued.

NAD noted that nothing in its decision precludes the advertiser from making stand-alone performance claims of a visible reduction in various signs of aging after four weeks of use and beyond.  However, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the use of the terms such as “repair” which communicate a far broader performance benefit than the evidence in the record supports.

Regarding references to the ingredient anogeissus, NAD determined that such references reasonably communicated the message that anogeissus, a tree-bark extract, is a key anti-aging ingredient in both products that reduces lines and wrinkles. NAD recommended that the advertiser’s references to anogeissus be discontinued.

NAD determined that claims for the eye-treatment product as to the visible improvements in the four major signs of aging assessed were supported, but recommended the advertiser discontinue the use of the term “repair,” which communicated a far broader performance benefit than the record supported

NAD recommended that the advertiser modify its advertising to minimize the references to surgical procedures to avoid conveying the unsupported implied message that the product performs as well as surgical or other medical procedures.

Finally, NAD recommended that the advertiser modify the eye treatment advertisement to avoid any potential overstatement of the extent to which its products are, in fact, natural, although the advertiser may promote that certain ingredients in its products are natural and that the products do not contain parabens.

Origins, in its advertiser’s statement, said that the company “continues to believe that all of the advertising claims in the two print advertisements being reviewed were properly substantiated [and] requests that all of NAD’s recommendations adverse to Origins be referred to an NARB panel for review.  The issues for NARB review include … Origins’ use of the term ‘natural’ in one of the print ads, its use of the term ‘repair,’ and its references to cosmetic surgery.”