Following an FTC Judge’s recent ruling that POM Wonderful deceptively marketed health claims in ads for its pomegranate juice products and must end all claims about the health benefits and performance of its drinks, the company has launched a new media campaign touting “its right to legally advertise the general health benefits of its products.” POM has faced a significant amount of scrutiny and negative publicity in the days after the ruling and hopes the campaign will re-characterize the decision as a favorable one for the company.
In the new print and online ads, POM utilizes specific quotes from the judge’s ruling that support the company’s ability to share scientifically validated information about the health benefits of pomegranate juice, and, in particular, its positive effect on prostate health, a key element of POM’s marketing.
In one ad titled, “FTC v. POM – You be the judge,” POM includes the following statement from FTC Chief Administrative Law Judge Michael Chappell: “Competent and reliable scientific evidence supports the conclusion that the consumption of pomegranate juice and pomegranate extract supports prostate health, including by prolonging PSA doubling time in men with rising PSA after primary treatment for prostate cancer.”
Stewart A. Resnick, the President of Roll Global, the parent company of POM Wonderful, stated that the company, “will continue to share the valuable health information of [its] products with consumers, and have decided to share with consumers these benefits using direct quotes from the FTC Administrative Law Judge’s ruling.”
Here is POM’s statement regarding the new campaign:
FTC Administrative Law Judge Ruling Affirms POM Wonderful’s Right to Advertise Health Benefits
Los Angeles, CA (May 24, 2012) – POM Wonderful, following the FTC Administrative Law Judge’s ruling issued on Monday, May 21st, 2012, is exercising its right to legally advertise the general health benefits of its products, affirmed by the Judge, in an advertising campaign launching today. In POM’s campaign, the Company will illuminate the facts and opinions stated in the ruling from the Administrative Law Judge of the FTC.
The media campaign from POM Wonderful will consist of full-page advertisements in newspapers such as the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, as well as online, home-page takeovers of CNN, the Huffington Post, and the homepage and health pages of the New York Times online.
“We will continue to share the valuable health information of our products with consumers, and have decided to share with consumers these benefits using direct quotes from the FTC Administrative Law Judge’s ruling,” said Stewart A. Resnick, President of Roll Global.
This week, the FTC issued a press release that oversimplified the ruling, which found a fraction of POM’s advertisements misleading. The FTC critically failed to mention that out of 600 print and outdoor advertisements disseminated, the court found less than 2% of those misleading. POM is appealing those findings.
The FTC’s objective was to shut down all of POM’s health benefit advertising and to use POM to impose a new standard of double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled studies and preapproval by the FDA on all food companies desiring to make health claims. In these efforts, the FTC failed.
Contrary to headlines in the media that have over-simplified and in some cases, mischaracterized, the ruling, POM Wonderful is not under an order to halt advertising of the science that supports the health benefits of the pomegranate and 100% pomegranate juice. Health benefit claims ranging from its prostate and erectile health claims to general claims about the benefits of antioxidants found in pomegranates and pomegranate juice were deemed to be supported by “competent and reliable scientific evidence” in the ruling.
In this new advertising campaign, POM is encouraging consumers to be the judge. The true significance of this ruling is that companies like POM Wonderful can share valuable scientific information and research with consumers; information that gives consumers the opportunity to make healthier choices.