The Federal Trade Commission and Lumosity, creators of a "brain training" program that inundated basic cable with ads in recent years, have agreed to a settlement where Lumosity will pay $2 million because their ads made claims that science couldn't back up.
The ads promised that Lumosity users could play games that trained specific areas of the brain, and that the games could prevent memory loss and Alzheimer's disease.
“Lumosity preyed on consumers’ fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “But Lumosity simply did not have the science to back up its ads.”
Here's what those 'deceptive" ads look like, in case you haven't watched Bar Rescue lately:
As part of the settlement, Lumos Labs "will notify subscribers of the FTC action and provide them with an easy way to cancel their auto-renewal to avoid future billing."
According to PCMag, the pricing structure varied for the games: $14.95 per month; yearly, $6.70 per month; two years, $4.49 per month; and lifetime, $299.95.
The FTC, in a statement about the settlement, points out the vast reach of Lumos Labs and its advertisers:
Lumosity has been widely promoted though TV and radio advertisements on networks including CNN, Fox News, the History Channel, National Public Radio, Pandora, Sirius XM, and Spotify. The defendants also marketed through emails, blog posts, social media, and on their website, Lumosity.com, and used Google AdWords to drive traffic to their website, purchasing hundreds of keywords related to memory, cognition, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease, according to the complaint.
According to Venture Beat, Lumosity at one point had 60 million users.
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