Memory Loss Supplement Maker Forgets Support for Ad Claims

Advertising Law

The maker of memory loss supplements must remember to change its advertising following a review by the National Advertising Division.

In 2016, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) challenged claims by UltraMax Health Inc. for its Max Synapse dietary supplements as part of an initiative to expand NAD review of advertising claims for dietary supplements.

Internet claims for the product included: “May help support: Increased short term memory; Drastically increase long term memory; Improves your energy levels; Increase concentration; Continually increased brain performance; Focus with laser precision; Clearer mental vision.”

The company also touted Max Synapse as “proven to increase memory recall in men and women of just about all ages” and “built to give you a boost of energy as soon as you take it and keep you alert and focused throughout the day. The days of the 3 o’clock crash are over as soon as you take the Max Synapse experience!” UltraMax further claimed that the supplements were “100% natural and with no negative side effects.”

When the advertiser failed to respond to the NAD’s attempts to engage it in the self-regulatory process, the NAD referred the matter to the Federal Trade Commission. The advertiser then returned to the NAD for a review of its claims.

At that point, UltraMax represented in writing that the challenged claims had been permanently discontinued and that for “business reasons,” Max Synapse is no longer available for sale. “Ultra Max [sic] stands behind its advertising claims, but in the spirit of supporting self-regulation, we accept NAD’s decision and represent that the advertising at issue has been voluntarily, permanently discontinued,” according to the advertiser’s statement.

To read the NAD’s press release, click here.

Why it matters: The decision illustrated the impact of the NAD/CRN initiative, which the NAD said was “an effort to encourage manufacturers to provide substantiation for their advertising claims to an objective, third party for review and evaluation and to assure that claims being promoted to consumers are truthful, [are] not misleading and are substantiated with credible scientific evidence.” In this case, the advertiser elected not to provide substantiation and instead permanently discontinued the challenged claims.



pursuant to New York DR 2-101(f)

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