BBB was founded over 100 years ago to promote truth in advertising. Back then, “snake oil” salesmen roamed the country peddling miracle cures that were touted to fix everything from tuberculosis to arthritis. BBB’s core mission was to ask advertisers to stop misleading or deceptive advertising and help consumers separate myth from fact.
Fast forward to today. BBBs across the country still further that original mission by conducting Advertising Review. In 2012, for instance, BBB Serving Dallas and Northeast Texas asked 286 local businesses to “prove up” advertised claims about their respective products, services, and prices.
Fortunately, data quality, technology, and science have made enormous strides since the snake oil days. So today, BBB consults trained professionals in various fields to help check out local advertising.
Recently BBB Dallas consulted industry professionals about a product touted to give consumers natural energy and curb food cravings.
Yes, folks. It’s a mug.
Wouldn’t you be thrilled if your weight management woes could be cured with a mug? Mere proximity to the mug would be sufficient to change the food and beverages that you plan to consume.
Well, eWater.com claims that it has just the product for you. According to the business’s website, the $80 eMug can help you ”Lose Cravings and Lose Weight!” and has all these benefits:
- The acid bite of juices, coffees and teas is nearly eliminated.
- Overall texture becomes smoother.
- The addictive nature of substances is reduced.
- The body is given more natural energy without artificial highs.
- Candy, sodas, coffees and desserts may be placed in or on the eMug for reduced cravings and blood sugar disruption.
- Use of the eMug encourages greater consumption of pure water.
- A recommended natural energy source when fasting!
Although BBB requested substantiation, eWater.com failed to provide documentation to support these claims. Ultimately, the business just stopped communicating with BBB.
So, because we were curious, we asked professionals. Dallas BBB spoke to two trained individuals within the medical weight loss field. We showed them the eMug and asked them to comment on the likelihood that the advertised claims were true. The first response was, “You’ve got to be kidding. I mean, it looks like a blue glass.” One professional said incredulously, “There’s no clinical studies at all that show anything. There’s no evidence of a medically accepted reason for any of their claims. I found it to be totally ridiculous.”
The same professional described the “feather” effect. She asked if I remembered the Disney movie, Dumbo. In the film the adorable floppy-eared elephant is convinced that he can fly as long as he has his lucky feather. She suggested that certain products may work a little, if at all, because of a placebo effect – like a feather that makes you believe you can fly, or in the present case, lose weight.
This all goes to show that you should trust your instincts about a product. Be mindful of advertised claims that seem too good to be true. For complex issues, it never hurts to consult an expert. Verify that your hunches are correct by asking someone who you believe should know the truth.
Finally, check with BBB. Checking out advertising claims is something BBB has been doing for over a century – and still does every day. If you have questions, maybe BBB can get answers.