Products that didn’t do what they said they did or didn’t have the research to back up their advertising claims have come under fire from the Federal Trade Commission, said the FTC’s Deborah Marrone, counseling companies on the importance of backing up the claims in their commercials. “Remember that claims or endorsements or testimonials must be substantiated, so consumer endorsements themselves are not confident, reliable scientific evidence,” Marrone said. “We have guidance available, we really do try to tell industry what to do, we just need them to pay attention.”
A handful of beauty brands have faced FTC problems, including L’Oréal’s Lancôme, L’Occitane and Nivea, as well as supplements and accessories businesses, she said. The fashion industry has faced its fair share of claims issues, too, according to Marrone, saying “it’s important to remember rayon is not bamboo.”
Marrone was on a panel with Vaughn Acord of V76 by Vaughn, Vanessa Adriana Miranda Nadal of law firm Jones day, Sarah Maslin Nir, who wrote the New York nail salon exposé for the New York Times in 2015, and Scott Faber of the Environmental Working Group.
Responsibility was another theme of the day, with Maslin Nir walking the crowd through the health consequences for the salon workers she interviewed, potentially from chemicals used in the business, and Faber reminding attendees about the Personal Care Products Safety Act, a bill that has been introduced in the Senate.