Turns out that Nivea Silhouette cream was a little too good to be true.
According to a press release, the Federal Trade Commission has fined parent company Beiersdorf, Inc. $900,000 and banned the brand from claiming that the lotion's anise and white tea formula could cut down fat. From the release:
The proposed settlement:
- bars Beiersdorf from claiming that any product applied to the skin causes substantial weight or fat loss or a substantial reduction in body size.
- prohibits the company from claiming that any drug, dietary supplement, or cosmetic causes weight or fat loss or a reduction in body size, unless the claim is backed by two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human clinical studies.
- requires that any claim regarding the health benefits of any drug, dietary supplement, or cosmetic be backed by competent and reliable scientific evidence.
The FTC pointed to Nivea's television spots and alleged purchase of sponsored search results from google ("when consumers searched on the words 'stomach fat,' 'nivea slim silhouette,' or 'thin waist,' they found Beiersdorf ads) as purveyors of false information. FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz remarked, "The real skinny on weight loss is that no cream is going to help you fit into your jeans. The tried and true formula for weight loss is diet and exercise."