Authorities in Canada’s Competition Bureau have instructed Lululemon to remove from its labels the claims that the seaweed content in its VitaSea line would reduce stress and provide anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, hydrating and detoxifying benefits to people wearing the garments. Acting Deputy Commissioner, Andrea Rosen, said:
Those claims have to be scientific and they have to be provable. The onus is on the advertiser, not the government, to prove that the tests are adequate prior to making the claims.
Yesterday, in the wake of a Lululemon investor relations breakdown about the seaweed content and the health benefit claims, the Business of Fashion advised Lululemon, especially now that it is a high-profile public company, to back up all of its product claims with clear evidence. Earlier this week when Chip Wilson, the company’s Founder, Chairman and Chief Product Designer, was told of the results from the New York Times’ test of the VitaSea product, he said:
If you actually put it on and wear it, it is different from cotton. That’s my only test of it.
Sounds like they also need to take our advice to more carefully manage their Corporate Communications and PR. There is an ongoing and raging debate about this, and other LULU issues linked to this incident, over at Google Finance.