Ads for weight-loss and slimming products are allowed to sell us a dream or aspiration, but advertisers need to make sure their claims have a firm foundation in reality. Most of the complaints we receive about weight-loss and slimming products are related to the capability of the product, and this capability being exaggerated in the ad.
The advertising rules state any claim made for the effectiveness of a weight-loss or slimming method or product should be backed by rigorous practical trials conducted on people. Testimonials that are not supported by trials do not constitute adequate evidence.
Claims that specify a precise amount of weight-loss within a specific time period should be avoided. As should claims that state a weight-loss or slimming product can help you lose weight from a specific part of the body.
As well as making sure their ads are honest and don’t mislead consumers, advertisers marketing weight-loss or slimming methods or products should ensure their ads do not exploit vulnerable groups and are prepared with a degree of social responsibility. Ads shouldn’t be targeted at, or appeal to, consumers under-the-age of 18 or those for whom weight reduction is likely to result in a potentially harmful body weight. Ads should never suggest that it is desirable to be underweight.
Furthermore, it is important for advertisers to remember the amount of weight-loss that can be achieved by an individual depends on many factors. It is not the same for everyone and it cannot be guaranteed. This should always be reflected in ads for weight-loss and slimming products and that is why the advertising rules say you cannot state or imply that dieters can’t fail to lose weight when using your product, or that weight loss is permanent.