Stem cell cream gets into marketing trouble

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Advertising Stem cell Asa

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled against Basic
Research for failing to substantiate anti-ageing claims attributed
to its "stem cell" cream.

The Utah-based company came into conflict with the UK watchdog over a magazine advertising feature for its Amatokin face cream, by Voss Laboratories. Elaborate product history​ The literature made strong claims about the product's efficacy and explained the rather unusual origins of its active ingredient, polypeptide #153. Voss Laboratories claims the ingredient was "developed in Russia at the "super-secret" Research and Production Center for Medical Biotechnology (a high-security medical lab located 62 miles north of St. Petersburg, surrounded by razor wire and machine-gun-toting armed guards... no kidding)." Where the ASA challenged the company was in relation to unsubstantiated breakthrough claims. Breakthrough claims questioned​ Voss Laboratories claimed Amatokin "rejuvenates the skin and makes you look younger … a lot younger" but failed to submit studies demonstrating the effectiveness of the cream. It pointed to trials regarding the cosmetic role of its key ingredients but the ASA said these positive conclusions could not be extrapolated to apply to the cream. The watchdog said it was impossible to determine whether the ingredients were tested in the concentrations and quantities in which they would be used in Amatokin. Besides unsubstantiated claims, the ASA said the advert was likely to cause confusion between competitors' products because it mentioned rival "stem cell" creams in a manner that suggested they were also marketed by Voss Laboratories. These products using stem cell technology are part of a new generation of cosmetics developed using so called "high science". They have courted both controversy and excitement with the ASA warning in its 2007 compliance survey on cosmetic products that future breaches were likely to surround this new family of products. Cosmetics referring to cell regeneration, DNA stress and stem cells are all likely to have a hard time with the ASA. The watchdog said it has seen more and more similar claims in adverts for new products since its latest survey was completed in September last year.

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