BBB National Programs Archive
Think & Lose LLC Participates In ERSP Forum
New York, NY – January 16, 2009 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has determined that Think and Lose, LLC., which markets the Think and Lose Weight Loss Program, has provided a reasonable basis for a claim relating to ease of use. However, ERSP recommended the marketer discontinue or modify more specific claims found in the advertising. The marketer’s advertising came to ERSP’s attention pursuant to its ongoing monitoring efforts.
ERSP, the electronic direct-response industry’s self-regulatory forum, is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) with policy oversight by the National Advertising Review Council (NARC).
ERSP examined broadcast and online advertising for the product. Claims at issue in the ERSP inquiry included:
- “Lose weight faster and easier than ever before!”
- “Don Mannarino’s “Think and Lose” Program will let you eat the food you want, lose weight easier than ever before and keep it off”
- “It starts working immediately”
- “This is the only clinically proven approach that will double your weight loss and keep it off”
- “Hypnosis is not only relaxing…It’s clinically proven to keep the weight off”
- "Studies show that people using hypnosis were able to lose, on average, about 2 ½ times more weight and the benefits increase substantially over time”
- “I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia several years ago and have struggled mightily with weight gain, pain, and lack of a decent night’s sleep. In the space of 18 days, I’ve lost 12 pounds, reduced my use of pain medication, and muscle relaxers by a third, and have actually been able to sleep through the night.”
- “Do you think being thin means strenuous exercise, popping pills, or starving yourself? Think again! Because now you can think and lose.”
ERSP recommended that the claims communicating that the product causes weight loss “faster than ever before” be discontinued. Alternatively, within the context of comparing hypnosis with dietary supplements or other diet programs, ERSP determined the marketer provided a reasonable basis for claims that the product is an “easier” method of achieving weight loss.
ERSP recommended the marketer discontinue in future advertising the unqualified claim that consumers can lose weight and “eat what you want.”
The marketer agreed to modify its Website content to further clarify that it’s advertising claims refer to hypnosis generally, rather than the product itself. Further, the marketer represented that it had made the voluntary decision to remove the claim that the program “starts working immediately” and that “hypnosis is clinically proven…to keep the weight off.”
ERSP determined that the evidence submitted did not support the unqualified claim that “hypnosis is … clinically proven to keep the weight off” or the quantified claims that “Studies show that people using hypnosis were able to lose on average, about 2 ½ times”; that consumers would “double their weight loss” or “lose twice as much weight using hypnosis.” ERSP concluded that the marketer did not provide the comparative data necessary to support the claim that “This is the only clinically proven approach that will double your weight loss and keep it off.”
The marketer modified the testimonial at issue to eliminate references to reduction of pain medication and muscle relaxers and ERSP confirmed that the other testimonials used in the broadcast advertising were accompanied by conspicuous disclosures indicating that the experiences of the consumers were not typical and that the individual results may vary. However, ERSP recommended that the marketer discontinue using certain testimonials in the online advertising until it can prove that the stated weight loss is typical of the weight loss experienced with use of the product or, in the alternative, “clearly and conspicuously disclose the limited applicability of the endorser’s experience to what consumers may generally expect to achieve.”
Finally, ERSP agreed with the marketer that the comparative claim “Do you think being thin means strenuous exercise, popping pills, or starving yourself? Think again! Because now you can think and lose” did not require any supporting data and merely presents hypnosis as an alternative method of weight loss as compared to diet programs and dietary supplements.
The company, in its marketer’s statement, said “…in a spirit of cooperation, Think and Lose has made, or agrees to make, the following modifications to its advertising for the Think and Lose Program…”