As we mentioned earlier today, among the many pieces of evidence in the FTC’s $40 million settlement with Skechers over deceptive advertising for the shoe maker’s toning sneakers is one claim about a supposed “independent” clinical study undertaken by a chiropractor — who may not have been totally unbiased in his research.
In ads for the shoes, a Dr. Steve Gautreau of California is quoted as saying:
After performing a six week clinical trial testing the benefits of SKECHERS Shape-ups, I am confident in recommending them to patients to increase their low back endurance and improve gluteal strength. Patients also benefited from weight loss and improved body composition.
But the FTC says that maybe Skechers should have gotten that quote from a different doctor, one that isn’t married to someone who works for the company:
The FTC alleges that this study did not produce the results claimed in the ad, that Skechers failed to disclose that Dr. Gautreau is married to a Skechers marketing executive, and that Skechers paid Dr. Gautreau to conduct the study.
Today’s Skechers settlement is the second such settlement reached in just the last year. Back in September, Reebok was hit for a $25 million bill on similar allegations, though we don’t recall any charges of familial bias in that case.