Pennzoil Sites Down Since Ruling

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Pennzoil Co.'s two corporate Web sites have been shut down since Oct. 13 after a federal judge ruled that messages in the oil firm's multimedia ad campaign were misleading to consumers. and have been limited to static company graphics and the message "Information Temporarily Unavailable" since the ruling.

The Internet sites would be back up and running if it were not for the company Web designer recently falling ill, said Ray Scippa, spokesman for Pennzoil, Houston.

However, he admitted the ruling was the reason the sites have been down.

In the lawsuit by plaintiff Castrol Ltd., U.S. District Court Judge Alfred Wolin found messages declaring Pennzoil's fuel additive superior to top competitors to be false. Castrol, Wayne, NJ, was one of the competitors in the ads and is the worldwide oil industry leader.

Pennzoil is appealing the decision and expects to get another hearing before year's end.

The company's Web sites were part of a multimillion-dollar promotions run called Protection So Strong You Can See It, which was stalled because of the ruling. In addition to Web promotions, the campaign included television, radio and other offline advertising.

The campaign was based on a comparative study by Pennzoil that found its oil products to have a longer-lasting quality than its four major competitors.

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