The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has told TV marketers Danoz Direct that you can't just make stuff up and put it on TV. Specifically, you can't tell people that a magic belt will give you rock hard abs.
The ACCC announced today that it had accepted an undertaking from Danoz Direct in relation to its advertisements for the "Abtronic X2" product.
The product, which has been regularly advertised on various daytime TV programs, is described on the company's website as an electro muscle stimulation device which "actually generates ‘active muscle contractions’." This, apparently, gives you great abs.
The agreement means that Danoz is forbidden from making certain claims about the device - claims the company had been making between at least August 2013 and September 2014.
The claims, which the ACCC described "false and misleading", suggested that:
- Use of the Abtronic X2, without any exercise or dietary modifications, will produce weight loss;
- Use of the Abtronic X2, without any other exercise or dietary modifications, will produce firm, flat abdominal muscles;
- Use of the Abtronic X2, without any other exercise or dietary modifications, will tighten, tone, sculpt and flatten the stomach;
- One minute of use of the Abtronic X2 has the same effect as up to 400 sit ups; and
- The Abtronic X2 provides an intense workout, even when a person is sitting down, working at their computer or watching television.
Danoz has pledged to seek the advice of medical experts before making any similar claims in the future.
The undertaking also states that Danoz must prominently discolose "any qualifications or limitations applicable to the circumstances in which the Abtronic X2 has produced the represented results, has the represented effect or provides the represented benefits to users." (Basically, don't lie about what the product can do.)
Danoz must also ensure that all future ads for the product are personally seen and approved by the company's CEO for the next three years.
So there ya go. It turns out good old diet and exercise is still the best way to those cheesegrater abs.
Rob Stott is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.
Contact Rob Stott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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