BBB National Programs Archive
NAD Reviews Advertising For ‘FRS Energy’
New York, NY – September 17, 2008 – The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has determined that the FRS Company provided reasonable support for certain advertising claims made for the company’s FRS Energy product. However, NAD recommended the company discontinue the claim that the product “enhances metabolism.”
NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, examines claims in national advertising for truth and accuracy. As a part of its ongoing monitoring program and in conjunction with NAD’s initiative with the Council for Responsible Nutrition to expand review of advertising for dietary-supplement products, NAD requested substantiation of its advertising claims from FRS.
The claims at issue in the NAD inquiry included:
- “Boosts Energy”
- “Enhances Metabolism”
- “Increases Focus”
- “FRS was originally tested and refined by scientific researchers at Harvard University as a fatigue fighting and general health drink. It was then discovered by endurance athletes who found that it boosted and sustained their peak athletic performance while helping to keep them healthy.”
- “Now FRS is used by anyone who wants a sustained healthy energy boost.”
- “I need a healthy source of energy with all I have going on, I make it happen with FRS.” (expert endorsement by Lance Armstrong).
- “strengthens immune system” and “. . . while helping to keep them healthy.”
Following its review of evidence that included three clinical studies on the product FRS Energy, NAD determined the advertiser could support the claim that FRS Energy “Boosts Energy.” NAD determined, as well, that the studies provided a reasonable basis for a general claim that FRS Energy “increases focus.”
NAD noted that it has previously recognized that both green tea and caffeine can effectively “increase metabolism.” At issue in the FRS Energy inquiry was whether the concentrations of caffeine and green tea extract in the product were sufficient and comparable to the amounts administered in the leading studies conducted on the thermogenic effects of green tea extract and caffeine.
NAD further noted that FRS Energy contains strong antioxidants and relatively low levels of caffeine and green tea extract, but none of the potentially harmful ingredients found in some other “energy” drinks. NAD found that the advertiser could accurately describe FRS Energy as a “healthy” product.
However, based on the ingredient studies provided on caffeine and green tea extract, as well as the advertiser’s arguments regarding quercetin, NAD found insufficient evidence to substantiate a claim that FRS Energy “enhances metabolism,” and recommended the claim be discontinued.
NAD further recommended that to avoid the potential for any consumer confusion, the advertiser make it clear in its advertising that cyclist Lance Armstrong offered a celebrity endorsement of the product, rather than an expert endorsement based on his career as a professional cyclist.
The company, in its advertiser’s statement, indicated that it accepted NAD’s decision, and would take the decision into consideration in future advertising. At the same time, the company noted that it disagreed with NAD’s findings regarding the “enhances metabolism” claim and endorsement. Further, the company said that FRS advertising featuring Mr. Armstrong as a product endorser will make it clear that he is endorsing the product in his current life as a celebrity.