by | Aug 23, 2012 | Imports

Ab Circle Pro exerciser traded on but didn’t deliver infomercial promises

Companies that marketed the Ab Circle Pro in 2009-10 with TV infomercial claims that three minutes on the abdominal exerciser would yield results equivalent to 100 sit-ups have settled a deceptive advertising suit brought by the Federal Trade Commission.

As the AP reports, Fitness Brands Inc., Fitness Brands International Inc., Direct Holdings Americas Inc., and Direct Entertainment Media Group Inc. agreed to pay a total of up to $25 million in refunds to customers who bought the contraption (a disk with kneepads and handlebars) for $200 to $250.

Looking through Datamyne’s bill of lading data, we found that some 1,600 TEUs of Ab Circle Pros were shipped to the US in peak-year 2010 (there were just four shipments in 2011 in the wake of the FTC suit). Shippers included Media Brands Co. Ltd., one of the companies named in the FTC suit; and Xiamen M.J.L. Fitness Equipment, exercise equipment makers. Also represented were As-Seen-On-TV product manufacturers Ningbo Best Seller and Yongkang Hardware Import & Export Co., Ltd. (Be warned: the Ningbo and Yongkang sites offer extensive catalogs of  functional and fanciful ASOT products.)

Direct Entertainment Media Group was far and away the top importer, consignee on 155 of 174 bills.

But not the only importer. With consignees such as Ecuador’s Television y Ventas Televent SA, Peru’s Q.P.R. SAC, and Dominican International Forwarding, we figured that we might find an Ab Circle Pro (assuming we were still looking for a no-pain way to a flat tummy) on the market in Latin America. We were right: The exerciser is on offer at 2010 consignee A3D Chile SA, where the claim is that the Ab Circle delivers “el equivalente a 300 abdominales” – something gained in translation?

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