ONLINE FUTURE, INC.
Zoft Hoodia Gum
In answer to ERSP’s request for evidentiary support for the claims at issue, the marketer simply indicated that the company is experiencing financial problems and “going out of business.” Pending this process of dissolving the company, Online Future, Inc., removed all of the performance and superiority claims from the website at issue and stated that it has no intent of using any such claims should it advertise for the product in the future. The marketer added that it controls no other advertising materials regarding this product.
BASIS OF INQUIRY
Direct response advertising Zoft Hoodia Gum, marketed by Online Future, Inc., came to the attention of the National Advertising Review Council’s Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (“ERSP”) pursuant to internal monitoring activity. Based on ERSP’s review of online advertising for Zoft Hoodia Gum, it was determined that the following representative core claims were being communicated in the advertising:
1. Performance Claims
“Zoft Hoodia Gum is an advanced, cutting-edge appetite suppressant,
metabolism booster, fat burner and energy enhancer all in one.”
“Now curb appetite, burn fat, and boost energy!”
“Lose Weight FAST!”; “NEW MEDICAL BREAKTHROUGH! No time for
the gym? Don’t like the thought of surgery? Now you can LOSE WEIGHT
FAST simply by chewing gum.”
“Lose weight fast; suppress your appetite in minutes”
2. Superiority Claim
“Zoft Hoodia Gum is the Fastest, Most Effective Weight Loss Supplement
ADMINISTRATIVELY CLOSED DETERMINATION
Section 2.2 C (c)(ii)(d) of the ERSP Policy and Procedures provides that “if …
during the course of an advertising review proceeding, ERSP determines that the advertising claims that are the subject of the inquiry have been permanently withdrawn from use prior to the date of the inquiry and ERSP receives the marketer’s assurance, in writing, that the claim(s) at issue will not be used by the marketer in any future electronic national direct response advertising for the product or service, [ERSP] shall administratively close the case file.”
Pursuant to the marketer’s representation that it has voluntarily removed the core claims from the direct response advertising at issue and has no intentions of disseminating the same claims in any future advertising for the product, ERSP concluded that it was appropriate and the best use of the program resources to administratively close the matter pursuant to the aforementioned section of the ERSP Policy and Procedures. In closing, while ERSP certainly appreciates the marketer’s good faith intentions
expressed during this inquiry, it will continue to monitor the claims appearing on this website to assure that the marketer is not communicating inaccurate information regarding Zoft’s Hoodia Gum product during the period that Online Future, Inc. attempts to reconcile its business model.
About Advertising Industry Self-Regulation: The National Advertising Review Council (NARC) was formed bu Council of Better Business Bureaus, and others. Its purpose is to foster truth and accuracy in national advertising through voluntary self-regulation.