Goop Slammed for New Answer to "Deceptive" Advertising Claims
New tags appearing above certain stories indicate whether their content is "For Your Enjoyment" or "Supported by Science."
The advertising watchdog that found 51 examples of false advertising on Goop's website last year isn't impressed by the lifestyle website's new "coding system" for flagging which claims are supported by scientific evidence.
On Tuesday, nonprofit organization Truth in Advertising (TINA.org) published a story about the new set of disclaimers on the website of Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle brand, pointing out two major issues. "They don’t stick out so most people miss them anyway and, legally speaking, they can’t cure a false claim — the false claim being that, regardless of how Goop wants to project itself to the world, the company does not possess the appropriate scientific evidence to support many of the health claims on its site," it said.
TINA.org first flagged Goop to advertising regulators in August 2017, when the Connecticut-based organization sent their list of Goop's false claims to two California district attorneys. According to the organization, 24 of these claims still appear on the company's website as of Tuesday.
In its Tuesday letter, TINA.org said it sent a follow-up note to advertising regulators on Friday noting problems with the disclaimers. "In short, Goop continues to deceive consumers, and is trying to cover its tracks with disclaimers that are legally and practically ineffective. As such, we strongly urge that action be taken in order to protect consumers from Goop’s ongoing deceptive marketing," the letter read.
Outlets began reporting that Goop had introduced a coding system to differentiate unsubstantiated claims from medically proven ones in mid-June. Five categories were introduced, including "For Your Enjoyment" (no solid scientific backing); "Ancient Modality" (an old concept that isn't proven); "Speculative But Promising" (research isn't conclusive); "Supported by Science" (there's a body of research behind the idea) and "Rigorously Tested" (doctors including M.D.s, D.O.s, N.D.s, and Ph.D.s agree on the idea).
These story tags appear above certain stories with a drop-down caption that explains what each code and accompanying icon means; as of this writing, not all stories appear to be tagged.
Goop has frequently responded to critics of its more dubious medical advice, while CEO Paltrow has poked fun at her own image as a holistic-practice guru. Twice, Paltrow and The Late Show host Stephen Colbert have teamed up to offer an overpriced line of products that promise wild benefits (the line isn't for real).
TINA's Tuesday post is only the latest criticizing the new labeling system, which received immediate backlash from frequent critics of Paltrow's company in June. OB/GYN Jen Gunter concluded on her blog about the labels, "So many of GOOP’s wellness posts were just for fun. Like a joke. Did they not realize they were jokes when I and many others pointed out the factual errors, potential for harm, and utter bullsh-- or are they just figuring it out now? Inquiring minds want to know?" Timothy Caulfield, the University of Alberta law and public health professor who wrote the 2015 book Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?, also endorsed a Patheos story that is critical of the labels on Twitter.
The Hollywood Reporter has requested comment from Goop.