Three days after a federal judge upheld major parts of a Federal Trade Commission complaint alleging that POM Wonderful makes deceptive health claims in advertisements, the pomegranate drink maker has launched a strange, full-scale advertising campaign claiming victory.
Click here to see the crazy ads>
The faux victory lap began Monday with a press release touting POM’s major victory, avoiding pre-approval from the FDA similar to a pharmaceutical judge, while avoiding its losses.
Missing in POM’s press release was a major part of the federal judge’s ruling: POM lacked appropriate evidence to claim that the juice helps treating, preventing or reducing heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction.
Thursday, POM took its efforts a step forward with a full-page, colour ad in The New York Times, a six-figure expenditure, and high-visibility ads on the Times’ homepage linking to its new pomtruth.com website dedicated to the FTC decision. POM has plans to place another full page ad in the Los Angeles Times as well as homepage takeovers on CNN and The Huffington Post.
So POM is intentionally drawing attention to a court proceeding that deemed POM made false health claims.
In addition to selectively choosing quotes from the court’s lengthy decision, POM is asking consumers to read the 345-page decision and pick a side. So we did.
POM continues to tout the decision’s statement of “prolonging PSA doubling time in men with rising PSA after primary treatment for prostate cancer.” In plain English, POM is touting a single study that showed a reduction in time of recovery for prostate cancer patients.
It fails to mention that the FDA doesn’t accept PSA doubling time as a “surrogate endpoint.” More importantly, POM didn’t mention that the 46 person study failed to have a placebo group. According to the court, “Dr. Carducci testified that without a placebo, he cannot be sure that the effect on PSADT observed in the Carducci Study is attributable to POMX.”
This means that POM’s “scientific research,” which it constantly boasts about in ads, would probably be disqualified from the fourth grade science fair.
POM boasts 98 per cent of their advertisements weren’t ruled to be misleading, but claims it will fight for the other two per cent. This means we probably have a few more victory laps coming during the appeals process, regardless of who wins.
POM's recent campaign includes homepage takeovers of the New York Times, Huffington Post, and CNN.
Court documents reveal that POM's studies were done with limited sample sizes, no placebos, and aren't recognised by the FDA.
POM's taking losing to a new level.
Despite a ruling that was hardly a shut-out for POM, the juice company's new advertising campaign appears as if it has won the World Series.
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