A Review by Theresa Callaghan
Realities & Practicalities
Following the huge 2018 success of this ever popular seminar sponsored by the proDERM Academy, the 2019 edition held here in Hamburg early December had high expectations, and neither speakers, delegates nor organisers disappointed. Once again, the proDERM Academy Claims Workshop successfully brought together a wide faculty of experts from diverse backgrounds covering all aspects of the claims development process. As with previous years, and following a warm welcome from host Professor Klaus Peter Wilhelm, Day 1 opened with a practical session at the proDERM Clinical Research Centre. Demonstrations and practical knowledge were headed up by Stephan Bielfeldt and his team on how to generate evidence for claims substantiation.
Claims & The Consumer
Clearly energized, the following 2 Days comprised lectures and discussions on bringing claims to fruition from regulation to effective implementation. Day 2 opened with a general keynote presentation from Theresa Callaghan (Callaghan Consulting International, Germany) setting the scene for following lectures. Theresa discussed the essentials of a claim, and described a common sense approach when developing a claim in terms of concepts, product users, expectations of claims, what is to be measured and the weight of evidence required before a claim can be finalised.
This led into a cautionary yet slightly humorous presentation by Erik Schipper (i3 Innovate, Sweden) who delved more deeply into the importance of the consumer when creating claims and gave practical examples of the consequences of getting it wrong. His message was clear – be very aware of consumer insights when developing claims and the importance of how they fit together. Erik’s presentation was a cautionary tale to drive home the message – focus, and clearly understand 3 key issues — what consumers say they do, what consumers actually do and why consumers do what they do, and importantly should never be biased toward a marketing whim!
Old & New Challenges
Consumer trials for claims development presented by Shazia Ginai (Neuro-insight, UK). Shazia showed that the world really is awash with cosmetic claims and as such the bombardment of them by advertising companies give rise to many consumer perceptions which are mis-read by developers if they are not careful. Consumer research is very powerful as it showcases the realistic perspectives and they go hand-in-hand with the technical support provided by laboratory and CRO testing. Consumer language and avoidance of bias and “forcing” in questioning are paramount in consumer studies.
Harald van der Hoeven (CLR Berlin, Germany) provided an outstanding presentation on the importance of the raw material supplier in the claims development process and used the development of actives for the microbiome as an on-trend example. If we do not understand the microbiome how can we make claims? The biggest debate surrounded the concern of experts that the industry knows too little of the impact of influencing the skin’s microbiome, and the possible problems that are likely to ensue.
Where to Get the Data
Firstly, Stephan Bielfeldt (proDERM, Germany) opened the session with a concise overview of how information to develop a claim can be provided by clinical setting. Clinical studies can really help bolster and help create strong claims for cosmetics and are one of the best approaches to obtain credible and relevant information for claims and a wide variety of methods and tools are available.
Sylvia Zebrowski (proDERM, Germany), provided us with a guide to watch out for when using statistics in the development of claims, and make sure you use the correct test for your data. Too many studies use the wrong statistical analysis test resulting in invalid data. This is important when presenting data for advertising purposes and for when challenges of claims end up in court, or challenges by ASA’s for example.
Workshop: Building Claims
Delegates were provided with a selection of data covering consumer assessments, market share and technical study performance data for a new product from which they had to create a number of solid claims. Working in teams, were encouraged to interpret the data and compile strong and provocative claims. The results were lively, intense, creative and competitive with some very robust challenges and defences! The take-home message here was clear: “does the consumer understand what you are getting at, and is it actually relevant to them.” An added humorous note too, always be careful where you place your commas, asterisks, and Asterix!
The 3 R’s – Rules, Regulations & Reviews
We were pleased to welcome Emma Meredith (Director General of the CTPA, UK) who provided us with clarity on the new claims guidelines published in July 2019. Given that each country in the EU has made its won decision on these guidelines, Emma provided some persuasive arguments on why it is important to ensure that any ‘free-from’ claim for example complies with the 6 claims criteria. Many do not. In addition, Emma also presented the Brexit scenario. In principle the UK will follow suit with the EU legislation when it comes to claims requirements and compliance.
Meera Cush (Delphic, UK) then explained claims compliance from the perspective of the Responsible Person (RP). Whilst major brands and multinational companies have their own internal RP function(s), SME’s (small & medium enterprises) contract this service to either independent companies or even their contract manufacturer. The responsible person has a tough task meeting obligations in relation to claims since legislation is not black and white ; the role requires a level of practicality and flexibility; and it is important to keep in mind overarching goals and consequences of non-compliance. Issues with Brexit also arose in line with Emma’s presentations
Making Impact: Seals, Endorsements, TV Advertising
Klaus-Peter Wilhelm (proDERM, Germany) took us through using seals and endorsements as part of the overall “claims” package, and provided a number of interesting examples on how these can work to improve sales and product credibility. It is important to take into account that seals and endorsements must also comply within the regulations with responsibility falling to the manufacturer and seal provider, especially when challenged either legally or by a competitor. The strength and credibility of a seal will always depend on the integrity and reputation of the seal provider!
Chris Gummer (Cider Solutions, UK) then brought us full circle and the event was closed out with a lively informative presentation on how to prepare claims support evidence for advertising in the UK. With some excellent examples and challenges thrown in, Chris outlined the tough and detailed requirements of UK advertising and Clearcast already gives guidance on the requirements for claim support and advertising in other EU countries.
Judging from the feedback the course delivered as part of proDERM Academy programmes, will become essential for anyone (especially marketing, R&D and legal) involved in claim substantiation or claims regulation in the cosmetics industry. We look forward to welcoming anyone involved in making claims to our next Claims Workshop.