Train your brain NOT to be deceptive: Luminosity targeted by FTC for publishing user testimonials in marketing and advertising messages

On January 4, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued Luminosity in United Stated District Court (N.D. Cal) and the parties settled Luminosity’s alleged violations of the FTC Act, including that officers and the company will not make false and/or unsubstantiated representations in its advertising such as the following:

  • Luminosity improves brain performance in school, at work and in athletics;
  • Luminosity protects the brain from dementia and Alzheimers; and
  • Luminosity can reduce cognitive impairment associated with PTSD, ADHD, stroke and traumatic brain injury.

Lumosity also settled allegations that 46 user testimonials on its website and in other online marketing materials were deceptive advertising practices because Luminosity did not disclose that the testimonials were submitted as part of a contest with prizes, including a free iPad, a lifetime subscription to Lumosity’s program and a trip to San Francisco.

TIP: Don’t publish user testimonials without adequately disclosing consideration like the chance to win a prize in a sweepstakes contest.
TIP: Don’t make performance claims about a product unless the claims are adequately substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence that support such claims.