TikTok’s largest weight loss advertiser, Kilo Group, is dumping money into predatory scams targeting users, particularly women, despite violating the platform’s own content guidelines. These ads promise unrealistic weight loss and extreme body changes, all while trying to trap users into auto-renewing subscriptions — fitting the Better Business Bureau’s profile of a weight loss scam.
Lithuania-based digital “wellness” conglomerate Kilo Group spent $4.3 million on TikTok advertisements between November 1, 2022, and January 7, 2023, making the company the biggest fitness and weight-loss advertiser on the platform during that period. This latest analysis is based on data from Pathmatics, a company that tracks digital marketing data and captures ads appearing in TikTok’s For You tab.
Kilo Group spends the bulk of its TikTok advertising budget on two of its weight loss subsidiary companies, Beyond Body and ColonBroom. Both companies utilize similarly misleading marketing tactics by promising rapid weight loss and body transformations.
TikTok’s ad policies prohibit companies from making miracle weight loss claims
TikTok updated its advertising guidelines in 2020 to improve policies on weight loss and dieting products. The updates prohibit advertisers from “performance exaggerations,” “suggestions that losing/gaining weight is easy, or guaranteed,” and advertising that exploits “insecurities to conform to certain beauty ideals or standards.”
TikTok received a considerable amount of positive PR after adopting these stricter guidelines. Unfortunately, these policies are useless if TikTok doesn’t actually enforce them — and it’s clear that they’re not.
ColonBroom and Beyond Body are circulating ads that blatantly violate TikTok’s own rules
ColonBroom’s product is a laxative drink that promises easy, dramatic weight loss. In order to purchase the product consumers must complete a quiz that includes questions about their goal weight. Media Matters answered these questions as if we were a woman weighing 180 pounds with a goal weight of 110 pounds. ColonBroom’s estimate — should the consumer use the laxative product — was a 70-pound weight loss in three months.
Media Matters tested even more dramatic and dangerous weight loss goals to see how ColonBroom would respond. With the hypothetical of a 5-foot, 3-inch woman wanting to go from 250 pounds to 100 pounds (a goal weight that would place her as underweight based on body mass index), ColonBroom’s “weight estimate” suggested a 150-pound weight loss in three months.
“THIS free quiz told me how to make my belly flat !” reads another ad.
Beyond Body markets itself as a “revolutionary way to wellness,” selling a personalized wellness book. And while the book’s cover resembles an Aerie ad in promoting various body sizes, the product does anything but.
According to Beyond Body’s website, the book is designed to be part of a 28-day weight loss journey. There’s nothing “revolutionary” about Beyond Body. The company spouts body-negative rhetoric, first asking customers to identify specific areas of their body they would “like to change” and then promising that its product will help “shape and slim your problem body areas.”
Beyond Body’s ads make similar promises to ColonBroom’s: “When I want to have a flat belly but Beyond Body is too expensive” reads one ad, followed by a sale offer.
“When your friend looks stunning after 28 days of using the Beyond Body book,” claims a different ad.
Consumers attempting to purchase ColonBroom or Beyond Body products are pushed into auto-renewing subscriptions that are automatically selected when checking out. Customers on international business review website Trustpilot report a pattern of deceptive business practices from these companies, describing unjust refund refusals, surprise subscription fees, and unexpected charges.
Both ColonBroom and Beyond Body have repeatedly violated TikTok’s own restricted content guidelines by promising rapid weight loss and body modifications. This isn’t a minor error or a scenario where a single ad fell through moderation cracks; Kilo Group is TikTok’s largest weight loss advertiser, spending millions of dollars to target vulnerable users, all while TikTok willfully ignores the egregious policy violations and rakes in profit.