Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Mary Ellen Podmolik

4/1/2009 (6 years ago)

McClatchy Newspapers (www.mctdirect.com)

Chicago Tribune (MCT) - Consumers lured by advertisements promising rock-hard abs, sparkling white teeth and bulging bank accounts soon may get a reality check.

Highlights

By Mary Ellen Podmolik

McClatchy Newspapers (www.mctdirect.com)

4/1/2009 (6 years ago)

Published in Home & Food


Updated guidelines on ad endorsements and testimonials under final review by the Federal Trade Commission _ and widely expected to be adopted _ would end marketers' ability to talk up the extreme benefits of products while carrying disclaimers like "results not typical" or "individual results may vary."

Instead, companies would be allowed to tout extreme results only if they also spelled out typical outcomes.

"For a good part of the last decade, we have noticed a problem, particularly with consumer testimonials," said Richard Cleland, assistant director of the FTC's division of advertising practices. "The use of consumer testimonials had become almost a safe harbor for companies as long as they threw in some sort of disclaimer about results not being typical."

The changes are sending shudders through companies that worry about their ability to motivate consumers to buy their products if they can't sell the sizzle.

"There would never be another Jared," said Julie Coons, president and chief executive of the marketing trade group Electronic Retailing Association, referring to Jared Fogel, who became Subway's spokesman after losing 245 pounds eating the chain's sandwiches and exercising. "We're all going to have to regroup" if the proposals stand.

Fogel's story is highlighted on Subway's Web site, accompanied by an asterisk and the text, "Their results are not typical. Your loss, if any, will vary."

"This is not something we are prepared to comment on at this point," a spokesman for Subway said of the proposed guidelines.

The tougher rules, the first update to the guidelines since 1980, are designed to make it easier for consumers to judge the credibility of marketers' claims. The changes would affect all forms of advertising and marketing, including blogs and company Web sites. The FTC could bring legal action against firms that don't comply.

The final guidelines are expected to be issued later this year.

The revisions have drawn sharp criticism from product manufacturers, advertising agencies and trade groups who say it is the "aspirational" theme of their ads that motivates consumers to purchase their goods. Show less than the ultimate achievement, they say, and consumers are less likely to buy.

What's more, they say, it's impossible to determine typical results for many personal-care products because of unique physiological characteristics among humans and the varying levels of effort put into any endeavor.

"A lightbulb, I can give you a typical result," said Jonathan Gelfand, general counsel for Product Partners LLC, which sells fitness programs, gear and nutritional supplements under the "Beach Body" brand.

"Showing what people start and end with and saying very prominently, 'Results may vary,' that is as true as you can make it," Gelfand said. "If we can't show a picture and give results, what are we going to do?"

He added, "Someone who can't fit in an airline seat is not going to pick up the phone for a 10-pound weight change."

A spokeswoman for weight-loss program provider Jenny Craig Inc. _ whose celebrity endorsers have included Kirstie Alley, Valerie Bertinelli and most recently Phylicia Rashad _ said it would be premature to comment on the guidelines.

Competitor NutriSystem Inc., which has been touted by Marie Osmond and whose Web site showcases a woman who lost 40 pounds, did not respond to calls for comment.

___

ゥ 2009, Chicago Tribune.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Home & Food

13 of the most delicious no-bake pies Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Save time with these delicious no-bake pie recipes and prepare the best dessert for you and your loved ones! MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) -  With some help from BuzzFeed, here are 13 wonderful pies.1. Rum and Peanut Butter Pie[media id="5371"]Surprise ... continue reading


15 healthy and easy to prepare meals for when you're eating all alone Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If you wake up late in the morning or come home late from work or school, you no longer have to worry about having to prepare for a full meal. You can now whip out these easy to prepare and healthy dishes for one, thanks to BuzzFeed. 1. Masor Jar Pear and Pomegranate ... continue reading


8 incredible ways to spice up a traditional grilled cheese sandwich Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Cheese and bread are two of the best things that have been combined together, to fill stomachs and be enjoyed by our taste buds. Here, with some help from BuzzFeed, we note 8 ways you can prepare and be proud of your grilled cheese sandwiches. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES ... continue reading


12 easy to cook cheap meals for when your budget is tight Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

When payday is still far away and you've got little money left for food, with some help from BuzzFeed, we suggest you prepare these simple meals that will satisfy your hunger pangs but won't eat up the rest of your budget. 1. Delicious Stir-Fried Beef and ... continue reading


The 15 strangest ways to serve avocados Watch

Image of Avocados can be served in many different ways.

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Avocados are popular as guacamole and dips, even in smoothies and salads. Scientifically, avocados are healthy. They are considered one of the healthiest foods -- a super food. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - According to Web MD, avocados contain about 20 ... continue reading


Bacon is good for you? Here are 5 incredible reasons bacon actually helps your body Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Bacon is one of the most popular foods ever created; more and more people crave the crunchy, sweet and salty piece of meat. People even express the love they have for it by celebrating a nonofficial, International Bacon Day. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Do 'superfoods' really exist? One study takes a closer look at the magic of blueberries Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil

Once again, the case of "superfoods" has been tried to see whether they are really worth the cash and the hope of good health. A show conducted a trial at Newcastle University, after recruiting five ordinary women to test whether eating blueberries regularly does have ... continue reading


Green potatoes? Must be St. Patrick's Day Watch

Image of COLCANNON DELIGHT - Everyone thinks of corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day, but this unique Irish dish made with potatoes and kale can become the hit of the meal.

By Augusta Scattergood (The Christian Science Monitor)

My younger daughter was born one day shy of St. Patrick's Day. We named her Kate for her Great-Aunt Kitty because we loved the name, not because she was Irish. I didn't understand then that a strong ancestral link could be forged with a country across the sea. My ... continue reading


'What's for dinner?' 15 of the strangest things people actually eat Watch

Image of weirdworldfacts.com

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

People often disagree on eating certain things. From exotic animal body parts and things not considered food in general to some items' wild preparations, various delicacies are available for those seeking palate adventures. Some are even rated deliciously. [media ... continue reading


Experts say skipping meals and fasting could be healthier than eating three full meals a day Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Eating three square meals a day - breakfast, lunch and dinner - is not necessarily helping our health, according to various studies by experts. In a recent report by the Mother Jones website, it is said that there are no actual evidence that support the practice of ... continue reading


All Home & Food News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 11:1-18
1 The apostles and the brothers in Judaea heard that ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 42:2-3; 43:3, 4
2 I thirst for God, the living God; when shall I go ... Read More

Gospel, John 10:1-10
1 'In all truth I tell you, anyone who does not enter ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 27th, 2015 Image

St. Zita
April 27: St. Zita was born into a poor but holy Christian family. Her ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter