The Federal Trade Commission kept it real this week when it fined Nivea $900,000 for suggesting its My Silhouette! body cream can help you lose weight. To which we can only say: You go, Federal Trade Commission!
The regulatory agency laid down the law Wednesday when it went after a television commercial suggesting that using the lotion can “significantly reduce consumers’ body size.” But if caffeine-laced leggings won’t do the trick, a few swipes of moisturizer sure won’t either.
While the wording of the commercial only says the cream will help “firm” the skin to which it is applied, the imagery shows something different. A woman puts on the lotion, goes to her closet to figure out what she’s going to wear and discovers that her favorite jeans — the ones she outgrew at some point — now fit her again, thanks to diligent application of My Silhouette! We called BS when we saw it, and so did the FTC.
“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.”
And while a $900,000 fine might seem like small change for Beiersdorf, Inc., the multi-national company that owns Nivea, the settlement comes with some stipulations.
The proposed settlement:
• 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.
Beauty product manufacturers be warned — this ruling will no doubt act as a precedent of some sort for future cases of companies overstating what their products actually do. And all this one does is lie. See it in action below.