Unbelievable! If only shoes could fix your flabby muscles.

Reebok has withdrawn its advertising  for muscle toning shoes. Why was the claim made in the first place? Is there any research available that can support this claim? Maybe the copywriter wore the shoes for a while felt good about it and decided this was going to be the winning idea? Or maybe the marketing people ran out of honest ideas.

It all started with the Masai Walking Technology you could say. A more uncomfortable pair of shoes would be hard to find.  “MASAI WALKING” was first used by the Swiss engineer Karl Müller who invented shoes inspired by the Masai tribe’s manner of walking. Walking barefoot on a soft springy surface was the reason the Masai could walk long distances without tiring. And walking on soft springy surfaces gave you a special rocking gait or so the inventor of MBT believed and so by extension if shoes could be made that helped you imitate this gait you were going to be able to walk long distances without tiring. And of course if you did that then surely your hip, buttock and leg muscles would get toned beautifully. Okay this much is believable. It does however needs to be said in detail and in this context. There is no information available on whether MBT tested and for how long and with how many people. Here is the public claim on these shoes:

“MBT©, Masai Barefoot Technology shoes are designed to mimic the walking patterns of the Masai. The rocker bottom forces you to adopt correct upright posture and reduced forward lean, reducing strain on the lower back. The gait also uses the gluteal muscles more than regular shoes, toning and firming the buns. The rocker bottom forces you to roll through each step, reducing shocks to the foot.”
By the way the Pilates system also has a couple of suggestions on how to maintain a posture that protects the lower back!! And toning buns!

So in that sense Reebok was simply following precedents and tracks already made by others. Perhaps it is just their advertising that let them down after all. Brands that use advertising to tell half-truths need to be careful. It cannot last for long before someone wakes up.

http://www.brandchannel.com/home/post/2011/09/29/Reebok-Easytone-FTC-Settlement.aspx

And here is another relevant story:

http://www.bnet.com/blog/advertising-business/why-reebok-will-love-the-ftcs-25m-ban-on-its-easytone-ads/10273

 

It is true that whatever is “banned” is often also “believed”.  But there has to be some way of stopping false advertising claims from perpetrating mass fraud on consumers in the way that Reebok has done and to some extent MBT as well.

 

 

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