BBB National Programs Archive
NAD Reviews Claims made by Princeton Nutrients for VitaPulse, Recommends Advertiser Discontinue Testimonials
New York, NY – Nov. 22, 2016 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Princeton Nutrients LLC discontinue the use of testimonials that claim the company’s VitaPulse dietary supplement lowers blood pressure, reduces cholesterol or increases energy.
NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
As part of its ongoing monitoring program and in conjunction with an initiative with the Council for Responsible Nutrition designed to expand the review of advertising claims for dietary supplements, NAD asked the advertiser to provide substantiation for express claims that included:
- Renewed Energy Boost on a cellular level
- Ease Joint Pain & Stiffness
- Improves Sleep and Reduces Anxiety
- Feeling of Mental Sharpness & Clarity
- Reduce Muscle Ache & Soreness
- Increased Metabolism
NAD also requested support for claims made in testimonials.
As an initial matter, the advertiser advised NAD in writing that it had elected to permanently discontinue the challenged express claims in lieu of providing substantiation. In reliance on the advertiser’s representation that the claims have been permanently discontinued, NAD did not review these claims on their merits. The voluntarily discontinued claims will be treated, for compliance purposes, as though NAD recommended their discontinuance and the advertiser agreed to comply.
During the course of NAD’s review, the company also modified its product-review page. When NAD opened its challenge, the company’s website included product reviews that indicated VitaPulse had an average star rating of 4.5 out of 5, a graph showing the percentage of ratings and several hand-picked 5-star reviews. Not all product reviews – and none with a rating below – were viewable on that page or on linked pages. The advertiser informed NAD that it had modified its product review page to include all product reviews it receives from consumers who purchase the product on its website, the only place the product is sold. NAD appreciated the advertiser’s voluntary and permanent modification of its website. The advertiser’s discontinuance of the practice of including only selected reviews on its website will be treated, for compliance purposes, as though NAD recommended its discontinuance and the advertiser agreed to comply.
In response to NAD’s inquiry into testimonials, the advertiser contended that the challenged testimonials on its website are true and were captured using an online survey of Princeton Nutrients customers or by unsolicited feedback on the Princeton Nutrients website.
Challenged testimonials included:
- “Before taking VitaPulse my blood pressure was in the upper range of pre-hypertensive and up to hypertensive stage one. It has come down significantly into the lower range of pre-hypertensive after starting my regimen of VitaPulse every morning with a large glass of water…. I’ve also had my blood pressure come down into the normal blood pressure range at times when I maintain a healthier diet.”
- “I have been on VitaPulse for a month and my blood pressure readings seem to be lower.”
Following its review of the advertiser’s evidence, NAD recommended that Princeton Nutrients discontinue the testimonials at issue.
In its advertiser’s statement, the company said that it “accepts and agrees to comply with NAD’s recommendations.” Further, the company said that it removed the challenged express claims and product reviews from its websites prior to the release of NAD’s decision and will “remove the challenged testimonials and endorsements, in their entirety, from its websites.”
Note: A recommendation by NAD to modify or discontinue a claim is not a finding of wrongdoing and an advertiser’s voluntary discontinuance or modification of claims should not be construed as an admission of impropriety. It is the policy of NAD not to endorse any company, product, or service. Decisions finding that advertising claims have been substantiated should not be construed as endorsements.