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Don’t try this with your brand

09/30/2010
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The Federal Trade Commission has issued a complaint charging the makers of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice and POMx supplements with making false and unsubstantiated health claims.

From Not So Wonderful: FTC Calls POM Ads Deceptive (Karlene Lukovitz, MediaPost Publications, 9.28.10)

Why, oh why, do an advertiser and their agency need to go so far down and out to brand and build the obvious health benefits of their product?

Lukovitz writes how POM Wonderful was cited by the FTC for not supporting their research-based claims. In turnabout is fair play, the POM Wonderful site claims “Stop Persecuting POMEGRANATES.” (Their all-cap shout, not mine.)

In the meantime, isn’t there a better way out of this identity-stress-mess? It can’t be blamed entirely on the agency creatives, and it’s not entirely the fault of the suits down in the legal department.

If POM wants to claim health benefits, go for it. If there’s research to back it up, more POW(er) to POM.

Kudos for advertising and website design that breathe stress-free, delightful experiences from every angle and (almost-every) click through. Still, the word persecute goes too far. Why? Well, if you’re building a brand church of health with the drink of choice being a detoxifier, is adding stress going to do the job? If so, Web 2.0 has turned Machiavellian.

Flat out, the strategy (or at least the experience) seems to be that I’m loyal enough to visit the POM site, join the stress, and take up the cause over a high-end juice? (Then make some branded cupcakes to detox from the other stresses in my life.) Perhaps, I might opt out of the POM Wonderful stress. After some yoga, I could make my way to the local produce store, hand-select and buy a generic pomegranate, then sip my own health benefits.

What’s your experience —as a consumer or a brand strategist?

  • Has negativity driven you from a brand?
  • Has negativity or gray benefits helped your brand in the long run?

Please post your comments here, rate this article or share with a friend.

This is definitely worth a follow-up post.

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