Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the Advertising Standards Authority.
It is legitimate to market tight-fitting or figure-enhancing garments as offering short-term loss of girth and the temporary appearance of weight loss. However, loss of girth must not be portrayed as permanent or confused with weight or fat reduction (Rule 13.12).
Neither the ASA nor CAP has seen evidence that garments, such as textured shorts, girdles and body sculpting underwear, can result in weight or fat loss, or that they can improve tone by increasing body temperature, perspiration level or resistance.
In 2013 the ASA upheld a complaint about an ad for leggings which stated, “SlimTech technology which is designed to accelerate fat loss” because it considered that consumers would understand that evidence was held to demonstrate that the product could work in this way. The ad was found to be misleading because the marketer was unable provide the ASA with sufficient evidence to support the stated claims (Debenhams Retail plc, 17 April 2013).
Similarly, the ASA considered that claims that a garment could “melt away toxins and fat” and that one could “Lose up to 5 inches from your waist and hips” and "Drop a dress size instantly” would be understood to be weight or fat loss claims, and because the advertiser did not provide sufficient evidence to support the claims, the complaints were upheld (8 London (International) Ltd, 28 August 2013, Celu-Lite Ltd, 22 August 2012).
In the past, the ASA assessed an ad for a garment claiming to remodel one’s figure with “long lasting results”. It claimed to micro massage problem areas, increase blood circulation and break down fatty deposits, helping to improve the body’s lymphatic drainage process and get rid of excess toxins. Only one unpublished clinical study was provided to support the claims, but this was not considered adequate given the high level claims being made (Biomedical Laboratories, 1 December 2010).
In February 2012, the ASA ruled that “Weight Loss Hotpants” neither aided weight loss or a decrease in cellulite (MyCityDeal Ltd, 1 February 2012). The ad was considered to be misleading, despite a disclaimer stating “Results may vary [and] should be undertaken with a controlled diet and healthy lifestyle”.