POM Sticks It to the FTC with New Ad Campaign

After the FTC's ruling of deceptive ads, POM asks the public to 'be the judge'

What's POM's new strategy after the FTC ruled that its ads falsely advertised heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction protection? Twist the FTC's words into a new ad campaign.

The pomegranate-juice maker, which was found to have "insubstantial evidence" in its implied health claims by the FTC, released new ads this week to combat bad publicity. Its slogan, "You be the judge," asks the public to make its own opinion of the FTC ruling. On its new pomtruth.com web site, it reads, "You may have heard that the Federal Trade Commission sued POM Wonderful for false and misleading advertising on grounds that science did not support POM’s health claims. But what you as a consumer of POM need to know is that the FTC judge agreed that POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice and POMx do provide significant health benefits."

The ads then quote Judge Chappell, the chief administrative law judge of the FTC in the case's 335-page opinion, making it seem that Chappell did approve of pomegranate juice's health benefits. But in fact, it left out that the implied claims were unsubstantiated by current scientific evidence. In a press release, POM said it was exercising its legal right to advertise the "general health benefits" of their products, "as affirmed by the judge." Business Week reports that POM did not approach the FTC for use of the judge's words, but the opinion is open to the public view, allowing POM to use the opinion without permisison.

The ads will be in The New York Times, the LA Times, as well as CNN.com and the Huffington Post.

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