Ad Watchdog Files Complaint about Deceptive Made in USA Claims
MADISON, CONN. May 20, 2015 – More than 95 percent of Revlon’s Almay line of cosmetics sold on its website fails to meet the legal standard for a “Made in the USA” claim, but the company’s broad-reaching “Almay Simply American” marketing campaign including television, social media, and Internet ads laden with patriotic symbolism unquestionably implies just that. Tuesday, ad watchdog truthinadverting.org (TINA.org) filed a deceptive advertising complaint against Revlon with federal and state regulators for violating the FTC’s Made in the USA standards.
“Almay’s implied, unqualified claim that its cosmetics are made in the USA is false advertising,” said TINA.org Executive Director Bonnie Patten. “Its marketing is unfair to consumers and to companies whose products really are 100% made in the U.S.”
Though the ads reference Almay’s “American Science” and feature countless waving flags, plenty of red, white, and blue and a heavily promoted tie-in with American Idol winner, Carrie Underwood, the company posts no disclaimers on its website or in its Almay Simply American commercials about the origins of its products. Instead, the company boasts that it’s proud to be a “truly American brand.”
Consumers can only find out where some of the products are made if they have them in their hands and attempt to read the tiny fine print — some of which is illegible — on the labels. A majority of Almay’s products have labels that say “made in the USA with U.S. and non-U.S. components,” but do not indicate where the components are from nor how much of the foreign components are in the product. Of the seven products featured in the Carrie Underwood Simply American commercial, three are wholly made in foreign countries.
Last week TINA.org asked that Revlon stop deceiving consumers with its Made in the USA marketing. The company denied the campaign was deceptive and requested TINA.org discontinue any further inquiry into Almay’s advertising.
TINA.org subsequently filed complaints with both the FTC and the New York Attorney General urging them to take action and hold the company accountable for its deceptive marketing messages.
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