“Vibrant White” Marketer Discontinues Claims, Revised Website, Folowing ERSP Inquiry

New York, NY – Sept. 14, 2009 – In response to an inquiry from the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP), Ecommerce Solutions, Inc., has voluntarily discontinued certain claims related to the company’s Vibrant White tooth whitener and said it will disclose on a product-review Website the company’s relationship to the Vibrant White product, actions ERSP determined were necessary and proper. ERSP further determined that certain advertising claims made for the product were supported.

ERSP, the electronic direct-response industry’s self-regulatory forum, is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) with policy oversight by the National Advertising Review Council (NARC).

ERSP examined claims in online advertising, following a challenge by Procter & Gamble. Claims at issue included:

  • ““Up to 14 shades whiter!”
  • “Professional Strength Whitening Ingredients”
    • “Typically you will begin to see results in 4-5 days of using Vibrant White twice a day.”
  • “America’s Most Trusted Teeth Whitening Product”
    • “Our teeth whitening gel is specifically formulated to help avoid tooth sensitivity while cleaning deep into your tooth’s enamel.”
  • “Results of 9 shades in only 14 days!”
    • “Crest Whitestrips Premium Plus showed results of 3-4 shades after 2 weeks of use even though it was more expensive than the Vibrant White Pen.”
  • “Crest Original Whitening Strips performed as expected, 1-2 shades noticed after two weeks of use…”

 

At the outset of the ERSP inquiry, the marketer informed ERSP that it would voluntarily discontinue the following claims

  • “America’s Most Trusted Teeth Whitening Product”
  • “Our Teeth Whitening Gel Is Specifically Formulated To Help Avoid Tooth Sensitivity While Cleaning Deep Into Your Tooth’s Enamel.”
  • “Crest Whitestrips Premium Plus Showed Results Of 3-4 Shades After 2 Weeks Of Use Even Though It Was More Expensive Than The Vibrant White Pen”
  • “Crest Original Whitening Strips Performed As Expected, 1-2 Shades Noticed After Two Weeks Of Use… .”

 

ERSP further recommended that the marketer discontinue performance claims stating that the use of Vibrant White will result in “Up to 14 shades whiter!”; “… 9 shades in only 14 days” and perceptible performance “… in 4-5 days,” which were not were not adequately supported by the evidence.

Regarding the Ecommerce Solutions product-review Website, ERSP noted that consumers may not be aware that the site is owned by Ecommerce Solutions and used to drive sales of its products.

ERSP found that the fact that Ecommerce owns not only the site, but one of the product reviewed on the site, is information that could be material to consumers and that the omission of that material connection could leave consumers with a lasting, inflated impression of the product’s popularity and superiority.

ERSP noted that the marketer has made an express representation that it is extensively revising its product-review Website and will disclose its material connection to the Vibrant White product.

Finally, ERSP determined that the marketer provided a reasonable basis for the claim that Vibrant White contains “Professional Strength Whitening Ingredients” and that its “As seen on AOL Body, MSN, People.com, TMZ.com, Yahoo! Health, and Google.com” claim did not constitute an implied endorsement.

The company, in its marketer’s statement, said “… Ecommerce Solutions, Inc. will revise its review web site taking into account the ERSP’s recommendations.”