Is Sensa a great way to lose weight fast or another diet scam? Sensa, if you haven’t heard of it, isn’t just another diet pill like African Mango Meta Burn, Raspberry Ketones, or Garcinia Cambogia. It’s actually a powder you sprinkle on your food, which the manufacturers claim will curb your appetite and cause you to eat less.
Currently, there are no clinical studies backing up Sensa’s weight loss claim, but that hasn’t stopped a number of celebrities from endorsing this diet product. One of Sensa’s recent spokespeople was Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer from The Help.
But Sensa recently dropped Spencer’s endorsement deal and the actress is suing for breach of contract. Why all the lawsuit drama? It’s because Spencer insisted on clarifying to her Twitter followers and other fans that all her Sensa posts were paid endorsements.
Certainly calls “truth in advertising” into question, doesn’t it?
Sensa Fires Oscar-Winner: Octavia Spencer “Too Ethical”?
After the 2012 Oscars, where Octavia Spencer won Best Supporting Actress for The Help, Sensa offered her an endorsement deal. She agreed, but insisted the campaign focus on a healthy lifestyle rather than massive “miraculous” weight loss. Essentially, Spencer wanted her ad campaigns to be realistic.
And she had other requests, reports website Jezebel:
She didn’t want the weight loss ads to use “Before and After” photos, she didn’t want to do infomercials and she was against having the ads be in… tabloid or gossip magazines and websites. Additionally, she said that while she would tweet about the product, she would only do so using the hashtag “#spon”, which would indicate to her fans that she was getting paid to endorse this product.
Go Octavia Spencer! Here at Scambook, we applaud this kind of transparency in advertisements, especially when it concerns anything “too good to be true” like a weight loss product.
But the endorsement deal started to sour after a few months when the response to Spencer’s ads didn’t live up to Sensa’s expectations. The company started to make demands that weren’t agreed to in the original deal: they pressured her into a before-and-after photo shot, and placed ads in Star and OK!
Disclosing Paid Sponsorship is the Law, But it Can Still Get You in Trouble
Things reached a breaking point with Spencer’s Tweets. Between February and July, she sent out a dozen Tweets, all pretty standard promotional fare:
But Sensa apparently objected to the #spon hashtag Spencer was using, denoting the Tweets as “sponsored.” Even though under FTC guidelines, celebrities are legally obligated to be clear about paid endorsements in media like Twitter.
Sensa refused to approve more of Spencer’s Tweets. At that point, Spencer’s lawsuit claimed, Sensa was just looking for a reason to drop her. However, Spencer persisted in holding up her end of the bargain, maintaining her 20-pound weight loss at her contractually obligated weigh-in.
But Sensa still claimed the Tweets were in breach of her contract, and they didn’t owe her the balance of her payments.
When it Comes to Diet Pills, Don’t Swallow Everything
Sensa is no stranger to claims of dubious advertising practices. The company recently settled a nearly million-dollar lawsuit for false advertising, when it claimed its product was proven effective in a clinical trial – when no such trial had taken place.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens with Octavia Spencer’s case, but in the meantime, the dispute over her endorsement deal simply underlines the need to think critically about advertising claims, who’s making them, and why.
When it comes to products that promise a magic bullet, like weight loss, hair growth, or cut abs, it pays to be skeptical.
If you’ve ever had a bad experience with weight loss products or false advertising, tell us in the comments, or report it to Scambook.