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I LOST 350IN TWO WEEKS.Ask me how!BOGUS WEIGHTLOSS CLAIMSA REFERENCE GUIDEFOR MEDIA ONBOGUS WEIGHT LOSSCLAIM DETECTION.FINALRedFlagBrochure.p65111/26/2003, 3:22 PM

BOGUSWEIGHT LOSSCLAIMSIf the claim seems too good to be true, itprobably is. RED FLAG it! Help yourcompany stop bogus weight loss claimsbefore they injure consumers.No publication or station wants toprint or air false weight lossclaims. The best way to avoidrunning false advertising is touse common sense.For more information visitwww.ftc.gov/redflag.WWW.FTC.GOV/REDFLAG pages18&19FINALRedFlagBrochure.p6518-1911/26/2003, 3:28 PM

Misleading weightloss advertising iseverywhere, preyingon consumersdesperate for aneasy solution. Thereis no magic bulletwhen it comes toYou can spot false claims for weight loss in the same way you probablyalready screen ads for taste and appropriateness. The extra moment youtake to review a weight loss claim is important for several reasons. It canprotect your company from being known as one that promotes rip-offs. Andit can prevent your company from getting cheated by those who make falseclaims. There’s a good chance they won’t pay their bills. Running falseclaims also can harm your audience.The Federal Trade Commission is the government agency responsible formonitoring advertising for deception. Deceptive claims in weight lossadvertising are too common. That’s why we’re asking for your help inspotting these claims for nonprescription diet products, includingnonprescription drugs, dietary supplements, skin patches, creams, wraps,losing weight.earrings, or other products that are worn on the body or rubbed into theClaims for dietproducts and services, such as prescription drugs, meal replacementproducts thatpromise weight losswithout sacrifice oreffort are bogus andin some cases,dangerous.skin. This booklet is not intended to apply to claims made for other dietproducts, low calorie foods, surgery, hypnosis, special diets, or exerciseequipment.This booklet has examples of extreme weight loss product claims. When youspot claims like these, take a moment to RED FLAG them, and pass them onto the appropriate person in your organization. Of course, an ad may makeother deceptive claims besides the ones in this booklet, but this gives you atool to RED FLAG commonly made false claims.For more information, visit www.ftc.gov/redflag. We appreciate yourparticipation in this effort.Howard BealesDirectorBureau of Consumer ProtectionFederal Trade /2003, 3:22 PM

If a weight loss claim seemstoo good to be true,Red Flag it.Ads for socalled miracle weight lossproducts are often empty promises. Despitetheir claims, there are no easy ways to lose weight andburn off fat. You can help people avoid false weight loss product claims.Read the ad before you publish or air it, and RED FLAG false ads.It takes a few minutes to become familiar with the examples of false ad claims in thisbooklet. These claims can be conveyed in many ways, and some ads may containconflicting statements. It is the overall message that has the greatest effect on youraudience. Ask yourself, “What messages will our audience take from this ad?”Generally, headlines, pictures, captions, and bolded text are more powerful thanbody copy and footnotes. These messages can also be communicated throughexpert or celebrity endorsements and consumer testimonials, which are oftenhighlighted in weight loss ads.Several of the following claims refer to “substantial weight.” This means “a lot ofweight” and would include weight loss of a pound a week for more than four weeks ortotal weight loss of more than 15 pounds in any time period. Substantial weight losscan also be suggested by references to dress size, inches, and body fat. But, as theexamples illustrate, ads may convey this message without using specific numbers.“I got taken by a miracle diet scam.and all I lost was 350”If you get an ad or spot for a nonprescription drug, dietary supplement, skin patch,cream, wrap, earring, or other product that is worn on the body or rubbed into theskin that includes these claims, RED FLAG the ad: Take it to your supervisor, and pointout the claims that strike you as false. Then, your company can stop these bogusclaims before they injure consumers.A claim istoo good tobe true ifit says theproductwill.Cause weight loss of two pounds or more a weekfor a month or more without dieting or exercisep.6Cause substantial weight loss no matter what orhow much the consumer eatsp.8Cause permanent weight loss (even when theconsumer stops using product)p.10Block the absorption of fat or calories to enableconsumers to lose substantial weightp.12Safely enable consumers to lose more than threepounds per week for more than four weeksp.14Cause substantial weight loss for all usersp.14Cause substantial weight loss by wearing it on thebody or rubbing it into the 003, 3:22 PM

No Dieting. No Gyms.Lose 22 PoundsPounds aa Week—OrWeek—Or More.More.LoseAndAnd StillStill HaveHave TimeTime forfor 1818 Holes.Holes.What if you could eat as much asyou want – and exercise as littleas you want – and still lose poundsof unsightly, bulging fat? Now youcan – with new Fattacker .FRAUDULENT CLAIM 1Lose two poundsor more per week (for a monthor more) without dietingor exercise.Reality CheckMeaningful weight loss requires consuming fewer caloriesand/or increasing exercise. Ads that promise substantialweight loss without diet or exercise are false. A claim isfalse if it says or suggests that users can lose weight fastwithout changing their lifestyles, even if the ad doesn’tmention specific amounts of weight loss or time periods.Attacks fat — anddestroys it — no matterwhat you eat or do.The four measurements used in weight loss ads are pounds,dress size, inches, and body fat, any one of which can beused to convey the message of substantial weight loss.VariationsHow much weight will youlose? How about twopounds a week? Maybeeven two pounds a day?Imagine, in just 43 days, youcould lose 60 pounds! Andyou’ll see results fast – withoutback-breaking exercise.Order new Fattacker today!Just 49.95 for a 30-day supply. Call 1-800-555-1234today!1. Fat cells attract Fattacker.Introducing NewIntroducingNewFattacker2. Fattacker surrounds fat cells.3. Fattacker destroys fat cells!Become a “new you” for less than 50. And you can save even more!Discovered by scientists activeGet a 60-day supply for just 79.95.in the space program, newOrder new Fattacker today!Fattacker is a revolutionaryThis is NOT an actualnew way to lose weight. Alladvertisement. The products andnatural and completely safe,companies mentioned here do notFattacker uses a unique bioexist and appear as examples only.Any resemblance to an actual productactive process that actuallyor company is purely coincidental.isolates and destroys fat cells.So fat literally melts away!Lose inchesinchesQUICKLY – and doQUICKLYnothing but ttakakeakethis little pill.FINALRedFlagBrochure.p656-7“Today, there exists a safe, all-natural, bio-active weight losscompound so powerful, so effective, so relentless in itsawesome attack on bulging, fatty deposits that it has virtuallyeliminated the need to diet.” [Next to, before, and afterpictures with quote, “I lost 36 pounds in 5 weeks.”]“I lost 30 pounds in 30 days even though I ate all my favoritefoods.”“Lose up to 2 pounds daily without diet or exercise.”“I lost 15 pounds in 30 days without having to change myeating habits or lifestyle in any way. See results fast withoutback-breaking exercise.”“Go from a size 12 to a size 6; lose inches QUICKLY, and doabsolutely nothing but take this pill.”WWW.FTC.GOV/REDFLAG11/26/2003, 3:23 PMpages6&7

Eat YourWay to aTrimmerYou!FRAUDULENT CLAIM 2With SuperSlimTab ,eat what you want,how much youwant and whenyou want — andstill lose weight.Weight loss will besubstantial no matter what or howmuch the user eats.Reality CheckIt is impossible to eat unlimited amounts of food – anykind of food – and still lose weight. Any claim to thateffect in an ad or commercial is false. Some products mayhelp curb appetite or cravings. For those products, it’s okayto say people can eat what they want so long as it is clearfrom the ad or commercial that people will not want to eatas much food as before they started using the product.VariationsSuperSlimTab users reportweight losses of a pound every 12hours. That’s two pounds a day! Andthere’s no need to count calories,skip meals or give up the deliciousfoods you love the most. Eat hotdogs, hamburgers, pizza. Haveyour cake, and eat it, too!Lose 2 Pounds a Day! NewSuperSlimTab contains a breakthrough ingredient that lets youhave a full meal and dessert too –and still lose weight. The more youeat the more you will lose. Thismiracle pill does all the work!“This breakthrough ingredient has patients losing one fullpound every 12 hours, two pounds or more each day, andall without counting calories, without missing a single meal,and without giving up those delicious, mouthwatering foodsthey love the most.”“My ‘formula for living’ lets you eat hamburgers, hot dogs,fries, steak, ice cream, sausage, bacon, eggs and cheeses!And STILL LOSE WEIGHT!”“Eat all the foods you love, and still lose weight (pill does allthe work).”Just 19.95 a Week for a 6-Week Supply!Call 1-800-555-1234 Today.Order the revolutionary SuperSlimTab today, and then startwatching the pounds melt away! Eat your way to a slimmer, trimmeryou, and blast away dress sizes and belt notches lightning fast.“I lost nine pounds during my first week eating just as Ialways do — going to parties, even eating gobs of vacationgoodies, including my favorite food: ice cream. Four weekslater, and I’ve lost another 27 pounds.”“Eat any mouthwatering food you want, and still blast awaydress sizes and belt notches lightning fast.”This is NOT an actualadvertisement. The products andcompanies mentioned here do notexist and appear as examples only.Any resemblance to an actual productor company is purely re.p658-911/26/2003, 3:24 PMpages8&9

Take Pounds Off — and Keep ‘em Off —With Singapore Slim Miracle Pill.Discover the Ancient Singapore Secret ThatTakes Weight Off Quickly – and Keeps ItFrom Coming Back!From the remote rainforests of the Far East comes thisamazing product that helps you shed those unwantedpounds – forever! Thousands have already used it. They’velost weight faster than they ever dreamed possible. Andbest of all, they kept the weight off!!!“All my life, I wentback and forth –between thin and fat.Then I discoveredSingapore Slim Miracle Pill. I lost allthe weight I wanted,and I’ve kept it offfor five years!”Sally S., ChicagoTired of Yo-Yo Diets? With Singapore Slim Miracle Pill, You’ll Lose the Weight Quickly –and Keep It Off Permanently!If you’re tired of going back and forth — betweenslim and not-so-slim — Singapore Slim MiraclePill is for you. It contains a special fat-blockingenzyme that’s scientifically proven toenter your digestive system. Yetdespite its ability to burn fat,it causes no unpleasantside effects. It keepsburning fat, and youkeep sheddingpounds.FRAUDULENT CLAIM 3Weight loss will bepermanent (even when the userstops using the product).Reality CheckWithout permanent lifestyle changes (eating less food and/ordoing more exercise), weight loss does not last once productuse stops. This does not include claims for permanent or longterm weight loss that clearly communicate that continued useof the product is required. For example, “Lose it and keep itoff as long as you use our product.”Variations“Take it off! And keep it off!”“Thousands of dieters are already using it and losing weightfaster than they have before and keeping the weight off.”“For 15 years, Mary yo-yo dieted without success. Fed upand desperate, she discovered a new miracle product to loseweight easily and permanently.”“The amazing ‘Fat-Sponge in a Pill’ that lets you eat more,weigh less and finally yes, finally slim down for good forthe rest of your life.”M I R AC L E PILL“Tired of yo-yo diets without success? This miracle productlets you lose the weight easily and permanently.”Now Available for theFirst Time in the U.S.Order Today by Calling1-800-555-1234.“It can help you quickly lose the weight, and keep it fromreturning.”“People who use this product say that even when they stopusing the product, their weight does not jump up again.”Until now, you’d have to spendhundreds of dollars to fly overseasfor Singapore Slim Miracle Pill.Now, it’s available for the first timein the U.S. And at just 59.95 –enough for a 6-week supply – it’san unbelievable value.This is NOT an actualadvertisement. The products andcompanies mentioned here do notexist and appear as examples only.Any resemblance to an actual productor company is purely coincidental.Order 0-1111/26/2003, 3:25 PMpages10&11

FRAUDULENT CLAIM 4Loseup to 2Poundsa Day!Block the absorptionof fat or calories, and losesubstantial weight.Reality CheckFatFoe EggplantatFoeks theBlocksExtract BlocFat — No MatterMatterWhat You Eat!YouREDUCE FATABSORPTIONBY 76%, ANDLOSE SUBSTANTIALWEIGHT INSTANTLY.FatFoe Eggplant Extract Does MoreatFoe Than TTakake FFatat Off. It Blocks the FFatatakeOff.Before It Reaches YYourour System.BeforeReachesSystem.FatFoe Eggplant Extract guarantees rapid weightloss. Just add it to the foods you like – anything frombacon and eggs to fried chicken. Once it’s in yoursystem, it forms a gel that absorbs and surrounds excessfat and calories, preventing them from forming bodyfat. And FatFoe Eggplant Extract is completelyflavorless and odorless. You won’t even know it’s inyour food – until you start losing amazing amounts ofweight.Order FatFoe Eggplant Extract – and watch theweight come off your body. Call 1-800-555-1234.Because it’s such a diet breakthrough, you won’t findFatFoe Eggplant Extract in stores. Instead, order your6-week supply for just 49.95. And discover the secretthe monks of Linguini Prima Vera have known fordecades.No fat blocker can block enough fat or calories to causelots of weight loss. Even legitimate fat blockers must beused with a reduced-calorie diet to work.Variations“Lose up to two pounds daily Apple Pectin is an energizedenzyme that can ingest up to 900 times its own weight in fat.That’s why it’s a fantastic FAT BLOCKER.”For centuries, the monks of theLinguini Prima Vera Monasteryin a remote part of northernItaly were a puzzlement. Despitetheir sedentary lifestyle, theywere amazingly thin. Finally,they revealed their secret: aunique extract of eggplant theyadded to the foods they ateevery day.“Brindall berries cause very rapid and substantial weight lossby reducing fat absorption by 76%.”“Super Fat-Fighting Formula guarantees rapid weight loss.Shortly after ingesting small amounts of the component, itdissolves into a gel that absorbs and surrounds excess fat andcalories, preventing them from forming body fat.”“This product blocks fat before your body absorbs it; thepounds will melt away effortlessly.”“The Super Fat-Fighting Formula inhibits fats, sugars andstarches from being absorbed in the intestines and turning intoexcess weight, so that you can lose pounds and inches easily.”“Mulletwood is an ‘all-natural ingredient’ designed to attractand absorb excess calories and transport them out of yoursystem. Watch the weight come off your body.”This is NOT an actualadvertisement. The products andcompanies mentioned here do notexist and appear as examples only.Any resemblance to an actual productor company is purely re.p6512-1311/26/2003, 3:26 PMpages12&13

FRAUDULENT CLAIMS 5 & 6How Would YouLike to Lose30-40-50Pounds? NowYou Can!Consumers can safelylose more than three poundsper week for a period of morethan four weeks.Reality CheckWant to slimdownforyourhighschool reunionthat’s just a monthaway? Or look yourtrimmest, prettiest beston your wedding day?WITH ULTRA THINQUIK ,YOU’RE GUARANTEED TOLOSE AT LEAST 3 POUNDSA WEEK.AND IT WORKSFOR EVERYONE!NATURALLYAND WITH NOSIDE EFFECTS.Now with Ultra ThinQuik ,you can take off all the weightyou want in almost no time.Because new Ultra ThinQuik is safe, effective — and fast!Nothing else works faster,better or easier. UltraThinQuik is an amazing newformula of weight losscompounds that combinesrapid weight loss with increasedenergy. Too powerful to find inany store, it’s yours now when youorder today. Just 49.95 delivers a3-week supply of powder developed tohelp you lose weight in a hurry!Losing more than three pounds per week over multipleweeks can result in gallstones and other healthcomplications, so the safety claim is false. If the claim isthat NO dieting is required, the claim is false for thatreason too.Variations“Lose 30-40-50 pounds. Yes! You can lose three pounds perweek, naturally and without side effects.”“Neptune’s Potion is safe and effective,” with customertestimonials claiming more than 12 pounds of weight loss permonth.The product causes substantialweight loss for all users.Reality CheckNo product will work for everyone.Variations“Lose excess body fat. You cannot fail, because no will poweris required.”“Lose 10-15-20 pounds. Works for everyone, no matter howmany times you’ve tried and failed before.”Fast Weight Loss! UnbelieWeightUnbelievvableEnergy! All in One Delicious DrinkDrink.Guaranteed ttooWork!GuaranteedWorork!Why Waste Time on Fad Diets and ExpensiveExercise Machines? Order Ultra ThinQuik ,Drink Before Each Meal and Start LosingWeight Tomorrow!Call 1-800-555-1234 today.“Everyone in our study lost substantial weight. Failure isimpossible.”This is NOT an actualadvertisement. The products andcompanies mentioned here do notexist and appear as examples only.Any resemblance to an actual productor company is purely coincidental.“Melt away ugly body fat. The product targets fat andeliminates it, regardless of body type and 514-1511/26/2003, 3:27 PMpages14&15

FRAUDULENT CLAIM 7“Who WouldHave Thoughta Pair ofDiet patches, creams, wraps,earrings, and other products wornon the body or rubbed into the skincause substantial weight loss.EARRINGSCould HelpMe Lose20 Pounds?”Reality CheckThis is a product category. It includes diet patches, topicalcreams and lotions, body wraps, special clothing, rings,earrings, body belts, and shoe inserts, among others.These products do not cause substantial weight loss. Aclaim that people can lose even a pound or more a weekusing one of these devices is false.Variations“One day, I ran into an old highschool friend I hadn’t seen in years,and she looked fantastic! While Ihad gained a good 20 pounds, shelooked slimmer and healthier thanever. In fact, she looked even betterthan she had looked inhighschool.“Of course, I wasdying to know hersecret. Was it anexpensive healthclub? A miraclediet drink?Or wasshe justrunningfive miles a day?“Imagine my surprisewhen she said it wasall a matter of herearrings!”Evelen SmithWaco, TexasSlimEar Earrings Disruptthe Formation of Fat Cells.The Longer You Wear Them,the More Weight You Lose.“Lose two to four pounds daily with the Neptune Diet Patch.”“Neptune Reducing Cream drops pounds and inches fromyour thighs.”Tints embedded in SlimEar Tinyy magnemagnetsEarrings produce a wave of magneticproducewamagneticenergy that’s amplified bour skullamplifplifiedbyy yyourskulland spinal column. This wavewaactually disrupts theformation of ffatat cells. What’smore, oovver time, it actuallydestroys existing ffatat cells. So yyououdestroexistinglose weight.weight.Yet the energy produced bproducedbyy SlimEar e. Despite howselective.DespitehowEarrings is selectivdestructive theo ffatat cells, they’redestructivetheyy are ttothey’reabsolutely harmless ttoo healthabsolutelyhealthyy cells,muscle and tissue. In ffact,act, manmanyySlimEar Earring wearerwearerearerss reporreportt nonottonly a loss of weight, but anweight,increase in energyThis is NOT an actualenergy.advertisement. The products andcompanies mentioned here do notexist and appear as examples only.Any resemblance to an actual productor company is purely re.p6516-1711/26/2003, 3:27 PMpages16&17

EFEDRAL TRADE COMMISSION600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NWWashington, DC 205801-877-FTC-HELP e.p652011/26/2003, 3:29 PM

Just 19.95 a Week for a 6-Week Supply! Call 1-800-555-1234 Today. Order the revolutionary SuperSlimTab today, and then start watching the pounds melt away! Eat your way to a slimmer, trimmer you, and blast away dress sizes and belt notches lightning fast. Trimmer FRAUDULENT CLAIM 2 FINALRed