MADISON, CT., Aug. 15, 2013 — A company investigated by advertising watchdog group truthinadvertising.org (TINA.org) is under fire again for deceptive marketing of a children’s supplement. A key advertising self-regulatory board has ruled that NourishLife, the maker of a dietary supplement aimed at children with speech disorders, should stop making a variety of misleading advertising claims, including that the supplement SpeechNutrients speak™ (Speak) provides nutritional support for “normal and healthy speech development.”
TINA.org contacted the company in March requesting that it stop its deceptive marketing, and sent complaints to federal, state, and international regulators. As a result of TINA.org’s efforts, NourishLife made a number of changes to its website including the removal of the term “patented formula” since, as TINA.org discovered, there is no patent for the supplement.
Two months later, prompted by TINA.org’s complaint, the Portuguese advertising authority, Instituto Civil da Autodisciplina da Publicidade (ICAP), ruled that the supplement cannot be marketed as able to improve speech because such a claim is unproven and misleading. As a result, the product’s European marketing was changed.
Now the National Advertising Division (NAD) has taken its own action against NourishLife and has recommended that the company discontinue certain advertising claims for Speak, including that users see benefits “as soon as the first week,” and that it provides “nutritional support of verbal and motor skills and normal and healthy speech development and oxidative stress.” In its press release, NAD said the company would permanently discontinue some of the claims at issue, and would consider revising other claims in future advertisements. These claims include that there is “mounting clinical evidence” and “hundreds of parental reports” that Speak provides targeted benefits, as well as product efficacy claims made in testimonials on the SpeechNutrients website.
A spokesperson for NAD said that if NourishLife does not abide by its full ruling in due course, it will open a “compliance review” and consider referring its findings to federal regulators.
Bonnie Patten, executive director of TINA.org, said she was pleased by NAD’s ruling.
“We applaud all efforts that protect consumers from false and deceptive advertising. We hope NourishLife continues to make positive changes and markets its products in compliance with advertising regulations. We will continue to monitor NourishLife’s website to make sure it has made all the changes in its advertising,” she said.
TINA.org reached out to NourishLife’s CEO for comment, as well as Dr. Claudia Morris, the pediatrician who is credited with inventing the formula, and Children’s Hospital and Research Center Oakland, the hospital that provided NourishLife an exclusive license to sell the supplement. Any responses will be posted on TINA.org’s website: https://truthinadvertising.org/complaint-filed-against-nourishlife/
TINA.org is a nonprofit organization based in Madison, Conn., whose mission is to be the go-to online resource dedicated to empowering consumers to protect themselves and one another against false advertising and deceptive marketing. Its aim is to achieve that mission through education, advocacy, and the promotion of truth in advertising. TINA.org is independently funded and does not accept any advertising dollars to support its work.