The health and wellness industry is booming, with more consumers than ever seeking products that promise a healthier, more balanced lifestyle. However, brands navigating the advertising landscape for these products can experience a tightrope walk. How do you effectively market your wellness claims without falling foul of regulations and skepticism? Let's review some strategies that can keep your brand both compliant and compelling.
Health Claim Definition: What Are You Really Saying?
First things first, let’s define what a health claim is. A health claim links your product to a specific health benefit. For example, "This probiotic yogurt aids in digestion." Simple, right? Essentially, it's a claim that suggests consuming or using a product can have a positive impact on a person's health or well-being.
Not so fast. The key here is evidence. Any health claim you make must be backed up by credible scientific research. This doesn't mean you need to run a clinical trial for every claim, but you should base your statements on established scientific knowledge. While most of the health claims examples you’ll find involve dietary supplement advertising, the same legal principles apply to marketing any health-related product, including skincare, cosmetics, and pet wellness.
Health Claims Examples: Learning from the Best
Almost every brand who works with Citruslabs to gain scientific evidence in support of their products will end their study with substantiated marketing claims. Here are some real-world examples of those claims that CPG brands are using today:
We tested ASYSTEM’s De-Stress Gummies. They’re using these claims and more on their product page:
82% saw an improvement in sleep
86% felt more calm
79% fell asleep faster
We tested Beekeeper’s Naturals 3-in-1 Complete Gut Health supplements (a favorite from our CEO!). They display their health claims and more on their product page, furthering trust with their consumers:
68% felt a decrease in bloating
76% had less stomach pain and discomfort
76% noticed a reduction in heartburn
We tested Common Heir’s Retinol Serum. Even skincare brands should back up their claims with research and Common Heir showcases a perfect example of how to stay compliant and build trust. They use these claims and more:
88% said their skin felt firmer, nourished, and replenished after using the serum and reported higher self-confidence
82% of the participants saw an improvement in hyperpigmentation
79% saw an improvement in their dark spots, skin clarity, and wrinkles
These examples work because they are specific, verifiable, and rooted in research.
Crafting Your Health Claim: A Balancing Act
Crafting a compelling health claim is a delicate balance. You need to be clear, concise, and make sure your claim is easily understandable to the average consumer. Avoid technical jargon and opt for plain language. For instance, instead of saying, "Our product contains Lactobacillus acidophilus which aids gastrointestinal flora," you might say, "Our probiotic yogurt supports a healthy gut." Remember, simplicity is key.
You also want to avoid implied claims. FTC law focuses not on your intent, but on how the consumer will understand or interpret your marketing. The following implied claims examples come directly from the FTC’s guidance on health claims:
Example 1: A brochure for a weight-loss product shows images of doctors in white lab coats looking through microscopes, molecular structures, and a stack of medical journals. These images give an impression of scientific legitimacy and likely convey an implied claim that the product has been clinically proven to be effective for weight loss.
Example 2: A magazine ad for a children’s nutritional drink features an image of the straw from the drink box encircling a child to create a barrier as another child sneezes in her direction. The image used in the ad likely implies that the product can help protect children from catching colds or other airborne infections.
Example 3: An ad for a vitamin supplement claims that 90% of cardiologists regularly take the product. In addition to the express claim about the percentage of cardiologists who use the product, the ad likely conveys an implied claim that the product offers some benefit for the heart.
Example 4: An ad for an infant formula states that an ingredient added to the formula can reduce the symptoms of colic. The ad includes an unrelated chart from a pediatric journal showing that, as a general principle, the length of time that colicky babies cry tends to decrease over the first 12 weeks of life. The graph has nothing to do with the effect of the infant formula on crying; it merely shows that crying decreases as a function of age. Using the graph in an ad for the infant formula likely implies that the formula, rather than the babies’ ages, causes the decrease in crying time.
As you can see, it can be tricky as a marketer when you want to capture attention and quickly express the unique value of your products, but when it comes to compliance, you’ll want to make sure you’re not overstating or misleading consumers.
Staying on the Right Side of Regulation
Regulation is a big deal in the health and wellness space. The FDA, FTC, and other regulatory bodies have stringent guidelines on what constitutes a valid health claim. You must familiarize yourself with these regulations to avoid costly missteps. Be aware that regulations can vary significantly from region to region, so if you’re marketing globally, you need to be mindful of different international standards.
For a full list of resources from the FTC about health claims, visit their website here.
Using Clinical Research to Your Advantage
Here’s where clinical research becomes your best friend. Studies and trials lend credibility to your claims. If you can say, "Clinically proven to reduce bloat," you're not just making a claim; you're providing evidence. This not only satisfies regulatory requirements but also builds consumer trust. Investing in reputable research can set your product apart in a crowded market.
Transparency is the Best Policy
For health and wellness advertising, honesty and transparency are not just ethical choices; they're effective strategies. Clear, evidence-backed health claims can build a loyal customer base and keep you in good standing with regulatory bodies. Keep your claims simple, substantiated, and compliant, and you'll navigate the wellness advertising landscape with confidence.
Find Out How to Make Health Claims
Connect with us and discover how a customized study can get you the results you need to make health claims. We work with supplements, skincare brands, superfood brands, and more.