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Direct Response Marketing

Field Reports

1 May, 2009 By: Thomas Haire, Jacqueline Renfrow Response


QVC Pays $7.5 Million for False Claims

By Jacqueline Renfrow (jrenfrow@questex.com)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Home shopping channel QVC agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) charges that it made false claims for health products, reports TVweek.com . The FTC says that QVC made deceptive claims about some dietary supplements, even after the channel promised not to do so in 2000.



Specifically, the charges state that QVC aired 200 programs with false and unsubstantiated claims for products including For Women Only weight-loss pills, Lite Bites weight-loss food bars and shakes, Bee-Alive Royal Jelly energy supplements and Lipofactor Cellulite Target Lotion. In the agreement, QVC will pay $6 million to consumers who bought the products and $1.5 million as a civil penalty.

Although there have been other settlements on claims for QVC, this court agreement includes a binding agreement from the shopping network pledging to avoid any false or unsubstantiated claims. Furthermore, it bans QVC from making unsubstantiated claims that any drug or cosmetic eliminates or reduces cellulite.

"QVC aired ads that weren't true and violated an FTC order," says Eileen Harrington, acting director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection. "Simply put, we aren't going to let QVC get away with this. The company is responsible for the product claims made on its programs, and we expect that going forward, QVC will do a better job for its audience and make sure that its programs are truthful and deceptive."

QVC's senior vice president-general counsel, Larry Hayes, said the company decided to enter into the settlement to end further legal expenses. "When the vendors offered these products on-air, QVC firmly believed, and still believes, there was no deception in the way they were presented," he says.

WPP Folds Dell Agency Into Y&R Brands

By Jacqueline Renfrow (jrenfrow@questex.com)

NEW YORK — Enfatico, a 16-month-old agency with 1,000 employees created by WPP to serve Dell's marketing needs, was folded into the Young & Rubicam (Y&R) Brands ad firm, WPP announced in mid-April. Y&R will work on the Dell account and Enfatico's CEO, Torrence Boone, will report to Y&R Brands chief executive, Peter Stringham.

According to an official statement by Enfatico, the move was in response to the current economic environment and that, "Enfatico remains a standalone brand alongside Young & Rubicam Brand's other companies, including Y&R, Wunderman, Burson-Marsteller, Landor and others. Dell and WPP have reinforced their commitment to the Enfatico model of integration across marketing disciplines."

Enfatico was started as Project Da Vinci in December 2007 by Casey Jones, former vice president of global marketing for Dell. The company originally laid off about 8 percent of its workforce in February. It also recently attracted its first non-Dell client, Progress Software. One of the biggest obstacles for Enfatico from the beginning was having only one client, and the fear that marketing cutbacks would kill the company entirely.

In a memo to Enfatico employees, Boone wrote, "This decision does not change who we are as an agency and will only strengthen our relationship with Dell and other clients."

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