WASHINGTON — The Federal Trade Commission announced it has reached a settlement with Beiersdorf Inc., based in Wilton, Conn., the maker of Nivea Silhouette skin cream, prohibiting the company from claiming that regular use of the product will significantly reduce a consumer’s body size or lead to weight or fat loss and requiring it to pay $900,000.
This story first appeared in the June 30, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“The real skinny on weight loss is that no cream is going to help you fit into your jeans,” said FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz. “The tried and true formula for weight loss is diet and exercise.”
The FTC administrative complaint charges Beiersdorf with falsely claiming that the cream will help consumer lose weight. It also charged that the Nivea skin cream is marketed in nationwide television ads and through sponsored search results on Google.
In that marketing, the company touted the cream’s “Bio-slim Complex,” which includes anise and white tea in the ingredients.
The commission pointed to a television ad where a woman getting dressed after using the skin cream on her stomach and thighs tries on a pair of old jeans and discovers they now fit. The company also allegedly purchased sponsored search results on Google so that when consumers searched “stomach fat” or “thin waist,” the Nivea Silhouette ads came up.
Under the proposed settlement, Beiersdorf is barred from making any claims that the product applied to skin can reduce weight or body size or cut down fat. It also prohibits the company from claiming that any drug, dietary supplement or cosmetic product can cause weight or fat loss unless the claim is backed by two random, “double-blind” placebo-controlled clinical studies. It also requires that any claims of health benefits for drugs, dietary supplements or cosmetics be backed by scientific evidence.