FTC crunches infomercial-advertised ab device


FTC / Federal Trade CommissionWould you believe that three minutes on Ab Circle Pro is the equivalent of a 30-minute workout and/or 100 sit-ups? The FTC didn’t, and the settlement over the matter could cost the device’s marketer up to $25M.

There were multiple versions of the infomercial, which was aired over 10K times between 3/09 and 5/10, along with one and two minute TV commercials, print ads, internet ads and in-store promotions.

The amount that will be paid depends on how many consumers who bought the device apply for refunds. FTC said there will be a floor payment of $15M and a $25M ceiling.

Along with the previously-mentioned equivalencies, the marketers also claimed the device could help users shed 10 pounds in just two weeks on the three-minutes-per-day regimen.

The FTC said, “In the infomercial, pitchwoman Jennifer Nicole Lee compared the Ab Circle Pro to a gym workout, saying, ‘You can either do 30 minutes of abs and cardio or just three minutes a day. The choice is yours.’ The infomercial claimed that consumers using the Ab Circle Pro for three minutes a day would ‘melt inches and pounds,’ and featured testimonialists claiming they had lost as much as sixty pounds. Consumers buying through the infomercial typically paid $200 to $250 for the device, while the price for those buying from retailers varied more widely.”

Said FTC’s David Vladeck, “The FTC reminds marketers that they should think twice before promising a silver-bullet solution to a health problem – whether it involves losing weight or curing cancer. Weight loss is hard work, and telling consumers otherwise is deceptive.”