Clarins: Untruthful, Scaremongering Quacks

Six meddlesome members of the public have complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that Clarins have been making untruthful, unsubstantiated and scaremongering claims about their E3P product. Previously, I wrote about this product and how it is making claims that it can protect against ‘Artificial Electromagnetic Waves’. The claims made and the evidence given by Clarins were utter tosh.

Specifically, the ASA considered three complaints:

1. Clarins could substantiate the claim that electromagnetic waves, generated by modern day devices or “domestic communications equipment”, could damage or age skin;

2. the implied anti-ageing and pro-health efficacy claims for the product, including the claim on the bottle “Anti-Electromagnetic Waves”, could be substantiated and

3. the ads made an undue appeal to readers fear of the harm that could be caused by man-made electromagnetic waves.

The ASA upheld all of them. There is no evidence that electromagnetic waves can damage or age skin. There is no evidence to suggest that Clarins could do anything about it, even if there were damage, and the adverts for Clarins were designed to scare people.

If you remember, the claims made by Clarins were supposedly backed up by mysterious researchers and laboratories that could not be found on the web. Clarins’ , Clarins Head of Research & Development, Dr Lionel de Benetti has been promising more research to prove the effectiveness of the products, a claim reported by anti-mobile phone lobby Mast Sanity. You can see him present his case here in a video.

You might expect such ridiculous pseudo-scientific claims and blatant scaremongering to be largely the domain of the smaller scale quacks who are preying off people who are being scared by the hyperbole of the electrosensitivity lobby. But a billion dollar cosmetics company? Maybe it is because cosmetic companies live in such a fact free, illusory world where nonsense science is used to advertise their products routinely, they thought they could get away with it. It is just one more overpriced, reality-free useless product that exploits women.

It is worth checking out the Clarins Financial Report for last year. Their Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Jacques Courtin-Clarins, proudly reports on page 1 that,

two noteworthy innovations in 2006 included Skin Difference, the first complete shave zone and night skin care for men, and Expertise 3P, a product developed after several years of research that established a link between premature skin ageing from exposure to artificial electromagnetic waves.

Now, the ASA only has jurisdiction in the UK. What are they going to do with this product in the UK? It is obviously a high profile new launch for them? Will they find their corporate conscience and withdraw it completely worldwide? I doubt it very much. I bet their Department of Fabricating Scientific Sounding Marketing is hard at work this morning to find a slightly different tack.
Anyway, well done to the meddlesome six. Let’s hope there is more to come.

5 Comments on Clarins: Untruthful, Scaremongering Quacks

  1. Just because you can’t see something working, doesn’t mean that it isn’t. E3P makes my skin feel smooth, and hydrated. Whether the electromagnetic waves are a real threat to my skin or not, being around computers, aircon, and such all day DOES dry your skin out. By keeping it hydrated i am certainly making a difference in the long term. I think people should try a product before saying it doesnt work.

  2. All well and good anon. But making your skin feel nice is not what Clarins were claiming. They were lying and scaremongering. if they just said, ‘this spray feels nice on your skin’ they would not be have been hauled up by the ASA

  3. Good for the ASA. False advertising should not be allowed.

    What a pity that there appears to be no similar organisation who can effectively uphold false advertising standards on drugs such as Vioxx, Olanzapine, and so many more.

    By the time anyone gets around to those, its too late for too many. That is, IF they get around to it.

    I trust nobody died from the use of E3P?

  4. Apologies, that is the job of the ASA, its is the job of the MHRA is it not?

    Perhaps there could be a push by doctors, like yourself, concerned about health and the connection to fraudulent advertising to get that regulatory authority to start to act?

  5. I’m sorry, should I rewrite that?

    Apologies, that is NOT the job of the ASA, it IS the job of the MHRA is it not?

    Perhaps there could be a push by doctors like yourself, who are concerned about health and safety of patients and the effects of fraudulent advertising, to get that regulatory authority to start to act?

    I hope that is clearer. I must press PREVIEW before posting 🙂

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