Debenhams ads for 'slimming' leggings banned



A Debenhams advert for leggings, which claimed to 'enhance weight loss' has been banned. The advert was on the company's website, and made a range of scientific claims for the leggings.

The Advertising Standards Authority said the science did not stand up to scrutiny and banned the adverts.

The claims

The leggings sounded like a dieter's dream. You wore them to exercise in, and not only did they flatter your wobbly bits, but they also used clever science to help you lose extra weight.

The advert was heavy with scientific claims. Among them were that the 'SlimTech' technology was designed to accelerate fat loss. It said: "Cosmetic formulas are made from the finest natural ingredients which have been proven to be effective in slimming, smoothing, toning, & moisturising." It added that it was: "A unique and proven technology fully supported by a clinical sports study."

The ruling

However, after a consumer challenged the claims, the ASA dug a little deeper. Debenhams said it used information provided by the manufacturer. The leggings were treated with a formula which contained ingredients it had been told accelerated fat loss. They provided three scientific studies which they said supported their claims.

The ASA said that SlimTech used new technology, so claims needed to be "supported by a robust body of scientific evidence". It didn't feel that the three studies did the job. It said that: "none had been peer reviewed or published. None of the studies were comparative or blind, and the test subjects and those carrying out the studies were aware of the aims of the study, which we considered could have affected the results."

It added that the conditions of the test were not representative, as: "The studies involved subjects wearing the garments for eight hours a day for periods of five days, with three such wearing periods taking place over 28 days. We considered it was unlikely most consumers who purchased the product would wear it for this amount of time."

And it disagreed with the conclusion about reductions in thigh and stomach measurements. It said they were not statistically significant, and it added that there was no significant weight loss.

Debenhams has been banned from saying or implying that the product can accelerate weight or fat loss.

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