The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has found that weight-loss claims made by Herbex in its TV commercials are unsubstantiated.
Consumer activist Dr Harris Steinman complained about a Herbex commercial for its product Fat Attack. Dis-chem‚ Clicks and Spar are some of the stores that sell Herbex products.
The commercial features the testimonial of a woman who claimed she lost 43kg since 2006 using Herbex Slimmers. "I have kept the weight off for 10 years. Herbex has completely changed my life. I am more confident and feel like I can do anything."
The commercial then shows before and after photos of the woman. "I am finally living the life I have always wanted to. Do you know what that does to your confidence‚ your health and your energy levels? My health dramatically improved in the last 10 years. So‚ if you want to lose weight and keep it off‚ get Herbex. Start today."
Lindsay maintained her weight for 10 years and Benika maintained her weight for 4 years using Herbex. Herbex helped improve Lindsay’s health and helped Benika regained her confidence.
Steinman said there was no evidence that Fat Attack led to weight loss and that‚ if it existed‚ a testimonial did not represent the majority of Fat Attack consumers.
He referred to foreign legislation about the standards of testimonials in advertising, stating that truthful testimonials must point out the product only worked for some consumers‚ that weight loss is unlikely‚ and must be used with a calorie-restricted diet and exercise or it will likely have no effect.
Herbex is not a member of the ASA and said it will not submit to its jurisdiction.
The ASA code says testimonials should not claim efficacy which cannot be "justifiably" attributed to the use of the product and results should be "fairly" presented. "Before" and "after" claims should be substantiated and illustrated in such a way that a "fair" comparison can be made.