Fraud, Ariane Moffatt and diets: the cult of thinness is more misleading than ever


Fraud, Ariane Moffatt and diets: the cult of thinness is more deceptive than ever

False sponsored content is circulating on social networks and appropriating the image of Ariane Moffatt. The artist assures that she would never promote a slimming product.

As the health crisis exacerbates concerns about overweight in Quebec, a misleading advertisement featuring Ariane Moffatt has recently been circulating on social networks to promote a weight loss product.

This ad dated January 19 looks exactly like a Facebook post. It has been seen in the sponsored content offered on this social network over the past week.

It's been going on for several months. The first time, we thought we would be able to stop them, but we noticed that they just start over with another domain name, confirms Stephanie Moffatt, the agent of the singer-songwriter.

Other personalities from Quebec have been or are still struggling with such a situation, in particular the actor Michel Charette.

Now we have an automatic message on Ariane's accounts to explain that it is a fraud. Ariane would never promote a weight loss product. She is a fervent representative of body diversity, continues Stéphanie Moffatt.

Here is the automatic message sent by Ariane Mofatt's team to the artist's official Facebook account. His Facebook account is certified, unlike the pages where his identity is impersonated, which do not display the small blue icon.

This type of deceptive and sometimes fraudulent marketing is targeted by the Quebec Public Health Association (ASPQ).

It was a concern, the cult of thinness. It was greatly exacerbated with confinement and the weight-loss industry capitalized on it, explains Laurence Sauvé-Lévesque, project manager at the ASPQ.

A report unveiled recently challenges the omnipresence of the weight loss industry on the web and in social networks. The ASPQ believes that the provincial and federal governments should act to better regulate advertisements used to sell weight-loss products.

The example of Ariane Moffatt is a good example of what we deplore. This advertisement deserves a complaint, but it is very difficult because the usurpers change domain names constantly and the companies are not based in Quebec, underlines Laurence Sauvé-Lévesque.

The ASPQ wants to encourage the Consumer Protection Office to multiply the tools so that Internet users can file complaints.

The ASPQ also wants Health Canada to review the Natural Health Products Regulations to force companies to clearly explain the content of the pills they sell, in particular.

Weight-loss product companies are increasingly using speeches on well-being and healthy nutrition to try to convince consumers, observes the ASPQ.

A Léger survey conducted on behalf of the ASPQ in March 2021 reveals that six out of ten Quebecers have made efforts to lose or maintain their weight over the past year. In addition, half of the population (52%) is dissatisfied with their weight, i.e. 45% of men and 59% of women.

Nearly a quarter of the Quebec population reports having been approached directly to purchase a weight loss product in the past year.

Source : Association pour la santé publique du Québec

Ariane Moffatt's team has taken various actions since the arrival of these false advertisements in the artist's life.

I am trained as a lawyer, so my first instinct was to send a formal notice to the company. Of course, I got no response. Now we have a contact at Facebook, so we can send fake ads directly to him when we see them, describes Stéphanie Moffatt.

“It happens to other people. They use people's notoriety, it's shocking. They are bandits! »

— Stéphanie Moffatt

The manager of the singer-songwriter especially hopes that people who see these advertisements quickly understand that they are not about 'Ariane Moffatt.

Sometimes you go fast and you can get fooled. But if you read it right, you realize that it can't come from his pen, argues Stéphanie Moffatt.

Ariane Moffatt with her sister and agent Stéphanie Moffatt (archives)

The website of the Consumer Protection Office (OPC) presents the means available when a customer obtains a weight-loss product that does not meet the manufacturer's promise to purchase.

The OPC explains, among other things, how a customer can file a formal notice if ;he opts for this recourse.

As regards advertising, the OPC recalls that the law prohibits companies from giving themselves a status or an identity that we do not 'has not actually.

It is possible to contact the Office to obtain information before denouncing an advertisement.

We also have an awareness campaign, says Laurence Sauvé-Lévesque, of the Association pour la santé publique du Québec. On the website, the ASPQ gives advice on the information to add in a denunciation so that it has even more impact.


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