BBB National Programs National Advertising Division Refers Advertising Claims Made by Creekside Natural Therapeutics to Federal Trade Commission
For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Brett, Vice President, NAD, 212-705-0109 / firstname.lastname@example.org
New York, NY – January 15, 2020 – The National Advertising Division has referred advertising claims made by Creekside Natural Therapeutics, LLC for its Focused Mind Jr. dietary supplement to the Federal Trade Commission for further review, following a challenge by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (“CRN”).
NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is a division of the BBB NP’s self-regulatory and dispute resolution programs.
The express claims challenged by CRN appeared in online advertising. Focused Mind Jr. is a dietary supplement for children that contains DMAE (25mg), inositol (100mg), and phosphatidylserine (20mg). NAD determined that the requisite level of support for the advertiser’s challenged claims is competent and reliable scientific evidence because the advertiser makes powerful health-related claims that Focused Mind Jr. will improve cognitive function, mood, focus, and emotional well-being in children, including children with ADHD.
With regard to the advertiser’s “clinically proven,” performance, and comparative product claims, NAD noted that the advertiser did not submit any clinical testing on the Focused Mind Jr. product as a whole. Therefore, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue claims that the product itself has the benefits claimed in its advertising, including that it improves memory and focus in children. Further, NAD determined that one reasonable takeaway from several of the advertiser’s performance claims that position its product as a natural “alternative to” prescription medications is that Focused Mind Jr. is at parity with prescription drugs. However, because the record does not contain any testing of Focused Mind Jr., much less head-to-head testing comparing the performance of Focused Mind Jr. to a pharmaceutical drug, NAD recommended that such claims be discontinued. For these reasons, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the following claims:
- “Creekside Natural Therapeutics Focused Mind, Jr. is a natural alternative to prescription pharmaceutical products which improves focus & memory in children.”
- “Why we created Focused Mind Jr. … [w]e kept getting requests to help children with symptoms normally associated with ADHD. Parents wanted a natural alternative to prescription medicines for attention support during the day. Dr. Natalie, a Board Certified pediatrician, who works for Creekside Natural Therapeutics, also saw the same need in her practice. Together, we formulated this product from clinically proven, natural ingredients at studied doses.”
- “A natural way to stay focused in the classroom and at home.”
- “Pediatrician created and approved to improve memory concentration and attention.”
- “The company’s Board Certified pediatrician has formulated this product from clinically proven natural ingredients at studied doses.”
- “Fidget spinners may be fun, but they are not effective for #adhd. If you or your child need help with focus, attention and memory, try our all natural Focused Mind Jr. and Focused Mind for teens and adults. We have it in stock at our site and Focused Mind is on sale!”
- “PS is proven to help with #ADHD.”
NAD noted that nothing in this decision prevents the advertiser from truthfully and accurately describing the role of pediatrician input into the creation of Focused Mind Jr., as long as the claims are carefully tailored to avoid stating or implying that the product has been scientifically proven to be effective.
CRN also challenged several claims regarding the ingredients in Focused Mind Jr., specifically DMAE, inositol, and phosphatidylserine, including that:
- “DMAE (25 mg) – studies show that DMAE help improve attention and alertness;”
- “Phosphatidylserine (20 mg) – this is commonly termed a brain ‘nutrient’ that supports cognitive function, emotional well-being, and behavior performance by restoring cell membrane composition. It has also been shown to support memory;”
- “PS is proven to help with #ADHD;” and
- “Inositol (100 mg) – increases serotonin which calms anxiety and hyperactivity.”
NAD reviewed the studies submitted by the advertiser on these ingredients and determined that such studies were not a good fit for the aforementioned claims and, therefore, recommended that they be discontinued.
Finally, the advertiser agreed to permanently discontinue the challenged express claims that:
- “The ingredients in Focused Mind Jr. are … at clinically proven levels for effectiveness;” and
- “Together, we formulated this product from clinically proven, natural ingredients at studied doses.”
- “We love reviews like this:
- "I wasn't about to put him on medication at that age or make him feel like there was something wrong with him.
- I had a teacher try to tell me that my 5 year old needed to see a social worker because he had trouble sitting still. I wasn't about to put him on medication at that age or make him feel like there was something wrong with him. I tried this as an alternative as I didn't want to be one of those parents in denial that my son needed some help. This really seemed to help. He's still a typical boy and likes to jump from couch to couch but he is more focused."
NAD, relying on the advertiser’s representations that the claims have been permanently discontinued, did not review the claims on their merits. However, the voluntarily discontinued claims will be treated, for compliance purposes, as though NAD recommended their discontinuance and the advertiser agreed to comply.
The advertiser failed to file an Advertiser’s Statement either agreeing to comply with NAD’s recommendations or appealing the decision to the NARB. Therefore, NAD has referred the matter to the FTC for possible enforcement action.
About the National Advertising Division: National Advertising Division (NAD), a division of BBB National Programs, provides independent self-regulation overseeing the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for truth and accuracy.
About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs fosters trust, innovation, and competition in the marketplace through the development and delivery of cost-effective, third-party self-regulation, dispute resolution and other programs. The programs were formerly administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. BBB NP is the home of industry self-regulatory and dispute resolution programs that include the National Advertising Division (NAD), National Advertising Review Board (NARB), BBB EU Privacy Shield, BBB AUTO LINE, Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), Children’s Confection Advertising Initiative (CCAI), Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC), Digital Advertising Accountability Program (Accountability Program), and the Coalition for Better Advertising Dispute Resolution Program (CBA DRM). The programs are designed to resolve business issues and advance shared objectives by responding to marketplace concerns to create a better customer experience. To learn more about industry self-regulation, please visit: BBBNP.org.