Consumer News

Not Every Product in the (Unofficial) Oscars Swag Bag Is a Winner

TINA.org examines the potential deceptive advertising issues of products in the unofficial Oscars swag bag.

Consumer News

Not Every Product in the (Unofficial) Oscars Swag Bag Is a Winner

The stars will gather in Los Angeles this weekend for the 90th Academy Awards. It has become something of a tradition (much to the chagrin of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences itself) for nominees in the acting and directing categories to receive unofficial Oscars swag bags, courtesy of L.A.-based marketing firm Distinctive Assets.

This year’s haul adds up to more than $100,000 worth of goodies, from luxe vacations to Hawaii and cosmetic procedures, to organic, vegan lollipops and gourmet pretzels. Because Distinctive Assets has agreed not to refer to the bags as Oscars swag bags, the company is calling them “Everybody Wins” gift bags. But not every product is a winner when it comes to potential deceptive advertising issues. Here’s a list of five:

23andMe

The journey to self-discovery trope is a popular one in Hollywood. But with 23andMe’s genetic testing kits, there’s no need to board a train or plane to some faraway land to “discover where your DNA is from out of 150+ regions worldwide,” the company says. In fact, all you need to do is send in a saliva sample. But 23andMe has come under scrutiny for initially offering its services without the scientific evidence to back up some of  its claims and without proper FDA approval. After a class-action lawsuit was filed against the company, consumers were granted a monetary settlement.

23andMe

Quincy Herbals

Movie stars looking to drop a few pounds for an upcoming role might consider brewing a cup of this complementary detox tea, courtesy of Quincy Herbals. But they should keep their expectations in check. Even though a testimonial on the Quincy Herbals Instagram account claims that a Quincy Herbals user lost 5.7 kilograms (or 12.6 pounds) in only two days, this is exactly the type of extreme body transformation that the FTC warns against in its “gut-check” guidelines for examining weight-loss claims. It’s also potentially unsafe.

Quincy Herbals

Hydroxycut Organic

If the detox tea doesn’t work, the swag bag has another option for those actors looking to trim down: Hydroxycut Organic. But while the wellness giant promises that consumers will lose weight, get fit, and feel amazing using its “Certified USDA Organic” supplement, ever since the FDA issued a recall of Hydroxycut products in 2009 based on findings that they cause serious liver problems, the brand has been the subject of numerous class-action lawsuits alleging it misrepresents the safety and efficacy of its products. One settled for $14 million.

Hydroxycut Organic

My Magic Mud

My Magic Mud, an unusual, black, “charcoal activated” toothpaste says it provides users with a stronger, whiter smile — the kind that’s fit for the big screen. One of the claims on packaging is that the toothpaste is fluoride free. But while that is all well and good, consumers shouldn’t necessarily value My Magic Mud more based on its fluoride-free status, given that dentists have stated that fluoride is actually beneficial in the prevention of tooth decay.

My Magic Mud

Jarritos

Oscar winners who will be called on to make a speech can reach for a Jarritos soda in their swag bag to avoid a dry mouth on stage. But here’s the thing about the beverage’s on-the-bottle claim that it’s a “natural flavor soda” — several varieties still contain synthetic food dyes. Take the mandarin flavor, for example: According to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit that examines ingredients in food, the drink contains artificial color Yellow 6, which it has designated a “moderate concern in food” due to its “effect on activity and attention in children.”

Jarritos

 

Find more of our coverage on the Oscars here.


You Might Be Interested In