FTC creams Nivea with $900K false advertising settlement


Beiersdorf Inc., the maker of Nivea skin cream has agreed to stop using television and other forms of advertising to tell people that its product can help users slim down. It will also pay $900K as part of a settlement reached with the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC described what it perceived as the problem: “One television ad depicts a woman getting dressed after having applied Nivea My Silhouette! cream to her stomach and thighs.  She digs through the back of her closet, tries on a pair of old jeans, and discovers that they now fit.  During the ad, the voice-over says: ‘New Nivea My Silhouette! with Bio-Slim Complex helps redefine the appearance of your silhouette and noticeably firm skin in just four weeks.  So you can rediscover your favorite jeans. And how they still get his attention. New Nivea My Silhouette! with Bio-Slim Complex. Touch and be touched.’”

The campaign also included internet elements.

FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz commented, “The real skinny on weight loss is that no cream is going to help you fit into your jeans. The tried and true formula for weight loss is diet and exercise.”

The settlement contains the following planks

* bars Beiersdorf from claiming that any product applied to the skin causes substantial weight or fat loss or a substantial reduction in body size.

* prohibits the company from claiming that any drug, dietary supplement, or cosmetic causes weight or fat loss or a reduction in body size, unless the claim is backed by two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human clinical studies.

* requires that any claim regarding the health benefits of any drug, dietary supplement, or cosmetic be backed by competent and reliable scientific evidence.