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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

PR: ERSP Finds Emson, Inc. Can Support Certain Claims for Ab Rocket Twister, Recommends Marketer Discontinue, Modify Certain Claims

New York, NY – June 28, 2011 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has determined that Emson, Inc., has provided adequate support for certain claims made in direct-response advertising for the Ab Rocket Twister. The marketer voluntarily discontinued several other claims that were the subject of the ERSP inquiry.

ERSP, the electronic direct-response industry’s self-regulatory forum, is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) with policy oversight by the National Advertising Review Council (NARC).

The marketer’s advertising came to the attention of ERSP pursuant to its ongoing self-monitoring program.

ERSP reviewed broadcast and online advertising for the Ab Rocket Twister, and identified several claims for review, including:

Performance Claims  
  • “Lose up to 2 inches off your waist in just 12 days guaranteed or your money back,” and “…in as little as 5 minutes a day with the Ab Rocket Twister, you’re on your way to tighter, sexier abs guaranteed.”
  • “Blast away those unwanted love handles for the most complete ab workout ever.” 
  • “5 minutes a day for the hottest looking abs you’ve ever had.” 
  • “With the Ab Rocket Twister, now anyone can go from flab to fab. It’s never been faster or easier.”
Establishment Claims 
  • “When compared to regular floor crunches, the Ab Rocket actually increases abdominal activity by 107%.  At the same time, the Ab Rocket decreases neck activity by 59%.”
  • “When doing a standard Pilates move using the Ab Rocket, compared to doing the same Pilates move without the Ab Rocket, external oblique activity targeting those love handles increases 233% with a 61% reduction in neck activity.”
  • “University tests prove, when compared to traditional crunches, the Ab Rocket increases muscle activity more than 100%; that’s double the muscle activity for ripped, toned, washboard abs in half the time.”
  • “Lost 2 ½ inches off waist in 6 weeks.” 
  • “I’ve lost over 50 pounds and 21 inches.”
According to the advertiser, the Ab Rocket Twister was designed as an abdominal workout machine to tone and strengthen the user’s mid-section, providing the benefits of sit-ups and crunches without the pain. The advertiser noted that the machine is intended for use as one component of the Ab Rocket Twister “System” which also includes three resistance bands, exercises DVDs, and a meal plan.

At the outset of the inquiry, Emson informed ERSP it would discontinue claims citing specific percentage increases in muscle activity and modify consumer testimonial disclosures to include the generally expected results.

Following the evidence in the record, ERSP determined that the advertising at issue could be perceived as communicating the message that results were based on use of the Ab Rocket Twister alone, rather than in conjunction with a meal plan and exercise DVDs. ERSP recommended that Emson modify its advertising to clearly and conspicuously communicate that the loss of weight and inches depicted in the advertising at issue resulted from the use of all program components.

ERSP determined that claims that the Ab Rocket Twister is the “fastest” and “easiest” way to obtain rock hard abs were not puffery, but were meaningful claims to consumers and should be discontinued.

Emson, in its marketer’s statement, said it “appreciates the opportunity to participate in the ERSP self-regulatory process and is committed to ensuring that its advertising is truthful and substantiated … Emson will defer to ERSP’s decision and will modify its current advertising in response to ERSP’s concerns.”

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