Direct Line Blog

Pom shoots back at FTC on marketing claims

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In August, DMNews ran a feature on health and wellness product marketing. The angle of the piece tackled the renewed crackdown on marketing claims by federal agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission. One of those marketers is striking back at the FTC now.

Pom Wonderful is suing the FTC after the agency warned the juice maker regarding its health benefit claims in marketing the product. From the Courthouse News Service:

Pom Wonderful claims the FTC is unfairly "using the weight of its vast resources" to single it out unfairly, "based entirely upon Pom's promotion of pomegranate products." The pomegranate promoter claims the FTC violated the Constitution and its own rulemaking procedures by issuing new advertising standards that require "prior FDA approval regardless of whether or not the claims are true or supported by competent, reliable scientific evidence."

Other marketers that have received a recent FTC warning letter regarding marketing slogans, such as Nestle, agreed to dial back claims. It seems that Pom has no interest in this approach. I imagine that other marketers are cheering them on, glad that someone is willing to take on the risk and expense of suing the US government. But is it smart?

One agency leader quoted in our August piece suggests going along with what the FDA and FTC want, regardless of how abrupt it might seem that new standards were put into practice.

"We've learned over the years that you have to stick to whatever the FDA or the FTC tells you and run a strict shop," said Leo Pearlstein, president of Lee & Associates, whose clients include makers of food, beverage and health consume products.

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