BBB National Programs Archive
NARB Recommends Biologic Solutions Discontinue Challenged Advertising Claims for ‘Stem Cell Therapy Skin Cream’
New York, NY – Sept. 17, 2012 – A National Advertising Review Board (NARB) panel has recommended that Biologic Solutions, Inc., discontinue certain advertising claims and “before and after” depictions for the company’s “Stem Therapy Skin Cream.”
NARB is the appellate unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
By way of background, the National Advertising Division (NAD) requested substantiation for the following claims:
• “Today Medical History is being made … Researchers have discovered a new miracle treatment that reverses the look of aging skin.”
• “Look & Feel Years younger with Smooth, New Skin in Just Days!”
• “Awakens your skin’s stem cells so they generate many new skin cells like when younger … naturally smoothes out lines & wrinkles, and makes you look years younger.”
• Before and after pictures with caption “Experience Amazing Results like this dramatization of actual clinical results.”
• “Stem Cell Therapy is Dermatologist Recommended.”
• “Decrease wrinkle appearance 56% and increase collagen production by 84% (in a way L’Oreal can’t, Chanel can’t, even Botox can’t)”
• “Decrease wrinkle appearance 56% in 30 days”
• “Increase production of new skin cells by 57%”
• “Increase natural collagen production by 80%”
• “Increase elastin synthesis by 61%”
• “Look up to 15 years younger starting the very first day”
NAD found that the claims “medical history is being made” and “researchers have discovered a new miracle treatment that reverses the look of aging skin,” which were accompanied by specific performance claims, were not puffery and therefore required substantiation. NAD further found that these claims were not substantiated and recommended that they be discontinued.
In support of the challenged product efficacy claims, Biologic submitted tests conducted on each of the three primary ingredients in Stem Cell Therapy. Because no tests had been conducted on the overall Stem Cell Therapy product, and also because of concerns with test methodologies and the consumer relevance of test results, NAD recommended that Biologic discontinue the challenged quantified performance claims. NAD also recommended that any non-quantified claims be significantly modified to refer only to the ingredients tested and to make it clear that emerging evidence indicates that these ingredients may help reduce some signs of aging.
NAD additionally recommended that the “before” and “after” pictures be discontinued because they did not depict typical results consumers can expect. Finally, NAD recommended that the “Dermatologist Recommended” claim be discontinued because it was based solely on the recommendations of one dermatologist.
Biologic appealed all of NAD’s findings in this case.
Following its review of the evidence, NARB recommended that Biologic discontinue the challenged claims, including use of the challenged “before” and “after” photographs. The panel also recommended that Biologic not make the same claims with respect to the ingredients in Stem Cell Therapy without additional substantiation that provides a reasonable basis for the claims.
Biologic Solutions, in its advertiser’s statement, said it “respectfully disagrees with the NAD and NARB’s conclusions regarding the scientific substantiation at issue, which was backed by the opinions of highly qualified experts. It is pleased, however, that NARB has clarified Biologic’s ability to use before and after photographs in its advertising.”
The company noted, however, that it would take the NAD and NARB decisions into account in its future advertising.