New York, NY – Feb. 15, 2017 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has determined that Nutraceutical Wellness, LLC can support certain claims for Nutrafol, men and women’s hair re-growth supplements, but recommended the marketer modify or discontinue other claims.
ERSP is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. The marketer’s advertising was challenged by Lifes2Good, Inc.
During the course of ERSP’s review, Nutraceutical Wellness said it had voluntarily discontinued a number of core claims challenged by Lifes2Good, including product and ingredient performance claims. As a result, ERSP narrowed its review of the advertising claims made for Nutrafol to the remaining six core messages:
- “The ingredients in Nutrafol are formulated to strengthen and nourish thinning hair from within”
- “Nutrafol’s unique ingredients support existing hair growth and maintenance from within”
- “Key ingredients in Nutrafol have been shown to increase hair growth and provide fuller hair in men with thinning hair”
- “The ingredients in Nutrafol are designed to provide strong, healthy, beautiful and vibrant hair in women”
- “Nutrafol contains more than just simple hair vitamins and delivers therapeutic benefits from plant bioactives that vitamins and minerals alone cannot,”
- “Nutrafol was developed with ingredients which address the underlying cause of poor hair health and support general wellness.”
The challenger, Lifes2Good, asserted that the claims made in advertising for Nutrafol are unsupported by the evidence provided by Nutraceutical Wellness. Additionally, Lifes2Good contended that since Nutraceutical Wellness has not conducted a clinical trial on Nutrafol, any claims about the product should be clearly limited to ingredient claims, and not suggest or imply that the product has been tested or shown to provide the claimed results.
ERSP looked to several NAD decisions as guidance in this case. For example, NAD reviewed advertising for Lifes2Good’s Viviscal supplement that included a claim (“…strengthens and nourishes thinning hair from within while promoting existing growth”) that is almost identical to one of the claims for Nutrafol (“The ingredients in Nutrafol are formulated to strengthen and nourish thinning hair from within”). ERSP saw no reason to deviate from NAD’s conclusions regarding studies on the same ingredients at similar dosages in previous cases with respect to comparable claims, and determined that the marketer presented a reasonable basis for the core claim at issue.
After its review of the case record, ERSP also found that Nutraceutical Wellness provided a reasonable basis for the following claims: “Nutrafol’s unique ingredients support existing hair growth and maintenance from within,” “Key ingredients in Nutrafol have been shown to increase hair growth and provide fuller hair in men with thinning hair,” and “The ingredients in Nutrafol are designed to provide strong, healthy, beautiful and vibrant hair in women.” All of these claims were deemed supported so long as they are presented in a context that makes clear that the claimed benefits are based upon an evaluation of the product ingredients and does not imply that the Nutrafol product itself has been tested and found effective at providing the claimed benefits.
However, ERSP recommended that Nutraceutical Wellness modify the claim that “Nutrafol contains more than just simple hair vitamins and delivers therapeutic benefits from plant bioactives that vitamins and minerals alone cannot” in future advertising to address the potential implication that the product itself and not simply the individual ingredients in the products have been shown to provide therapeutic benefits.
ERSP also determined that the marketer’s core claim that “Nutrafol was developed with ingredients which address the underlying cause of poor hair health and support general wellness” could be reasonably understood by consumers as meaning that the ingredients in Nutrafol address all of the underlying causes of poor hair health, when that has not been proven. Alternatively, ERSP determined that the marketer did provide a reasonable basis for a more limited claim that the ingredients in Nutrafol do address some of the causes for poor hair health and support general wellness.
The company, in its marketer’s statement, said, “Nutraceutical Wellness supports the self-regulatory process and will take the ERSP’s decision and guidance into account in its further advertising efforts, when re-evaluating the claims it withdrew for marketing reasons and when incorporating the modifications recommended to its remaining core claims.”