Skin Care Claims

(Investigator 5, 1989 March)


In the 1930s an Asian man made a name for himself by persuading others that he was 300 years old. The subject of longevity is associated with much exaggeration, hot air and fraud. Therefore when someone claims to be over 90 and yet looks to be nearer 50 it is cause for suspicion.

Suspicion is especially warranted if the young looking ninety year old is making a lot of money out of it.

Regular advertisements for Metrin Skin products claimed that the company president was over 90 years old. The accompanying photo in the advertisements showed her looking much, much younger.

A full-page ad in New Idea (24 September 1983) said in part:

90 years of age! To look at her it seems unbelievable and yet it's true.
Macil Sumpter is a remarkable example of a woman who does not seem to have aged.
The press in both Canada and Australia cannot agree whether this 90 year old looks more like she is 50 or 60 – but on both sides of the Pacific they do agree that she certainly is a youthful and energetic example of how to grow old gracefully…
It was in 1932 that Macil and her husband started using the product…
In 1977 Macil purchased the company…
Beneath a photo of Mrs Sumpter the same ad says:
Macil sports a complexion that would make a 50 year old proud and at 90 years of age owns and runs a $30 million a year company.
 
More recent advertisements lowered Macil Sumpters age to "in her 70s". A letter to the Canadian head office got no response. A second letter was sent to the Australian office:
 
 
1988 June 17
South Australia.
The Manager

Metrin Head Office
N S W

Dear Sir/Madam,

Advertisements for METRIN in THE AUSTRALIAN WOMEN'S WEEKLY of March and June 1984 gave the age of the president of your company, Macil Sumpter, as 91.

More-recent advertisements as in TIME 1986 March 17 p. 37 state: "Macil Sumpter ... is well over seventy".

Of course 91 is "well over seventy". But your WOMEN'S WEEKLY advertisements also contrast the lady's real age with her apparent age: "At 91 Macil Sumpter looks in her 60s." Now, that's an impressive difference. 

The phrase "well over 70", however could give the impression that she is only 73 or 74. The difference between this and "looks in her 60s" is certainly no longer impressive. I know many people who look 5 or 10 years younger than their real age and who don't take METRIN Scientific Skin Care.

Could you please inform me of Macil Sumpter's real age. If she was 91 in 1984 you belie the real value of your product by understating this as "over seventy".

Yours sincerely, 
 


 
The office wrote back claiming that Macil Sumpter had falsified documentation related to her age. The same office now sold "Cazarne" skin products and no longer sold Metrin. The letter included several advertisements for Cazarne:
 
 
G.D.R. Consultants
N.S.W.
30th June, 1988.

Dear Mr…

Thank you for your letter dated 17th June, 1988…

Our company resigned as the Importers and National Distributors of Metrin in February, 1985 when we found out that Mrs Sumpter was falsely promoting her age as in her 90's. Mrs Sumpter had for many years carried a birth certificate and other documentation to support her claims but in February 1985 we found she had falsified all the documentation.

At that point we sent a letter to all our existing clients and the appropriate government departments, however, much to our surprise Metrin continues to be allowed to operate in this country.

You ask to be informed of Mrs Sumpter's age but in all honesty I am not sure how old she is. Perhaps she could be 79 or 80 years old.

After G.D.R. Consultants Pty Limited resigned as Importers and National Distributors, Mr Frederick Runnels the creator of Metrin created Cazarne Skin Care especially for Australia.

We consider it to be far superior to Metrin.

I have enclosed some literature for you and a special offer we used some time ago.

I trust this answers your inquiry.

Kindest Regards,
 


 

Cazarne had amazing claims associated with it too. It allegedly removed the effects of skin cancer – or so the advertisement seemed to suggest.

I wrote to Consumer Affairs about all this.

Consumer Affairs replied that they lack the means to investigate the age of Mrs Sumpter. But they would investigate the implied claims of Casarne.

(BS)


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