Earlier this week, the Federal Trade Commission announced that Judge D. Michael Chappell upheld its complaint in an initial decision, ruling the brand violated federal laws by making deceptive claims in some ads. Now, the feisty pomegranate juice brand is running banner ads using quotes from that same judge that reflect well on the brand.
While Judge Chappell did find that certain Pom Wonderful ads violated the law by claiming the product would treat or prevent heart disease, prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction, he did make comments about the efficacy of pomegranates and pomegranate juice in general. It's those comments that Pom Wonderful has latched onto and is promoting.
The ads quote Judge Chappell as calling Pom a "natural fruit product with health-promoting characteristics." The ads direct consumers to a website, pomtruth.com, which declares "FTC v. Pom, you be the judge. Read the truth behind the FTC ruling." The site includes additional, flattering quotes from Judge Chappell.
Mary Engle, the FTC's director-division of advertising practices, said the group has no comment on the campaign, "because one or both parties are likely to appeal certain aspects" of Judge Chappell's initial decision. The decision takes effect after 30 days unless the FTC or the company files an appeal.
In a statement earlier this week, Pom Wonderful said it disagreed with the finding that some ads were potentially misleading but would make adjustments, if necessary. The brand also celebrated Judge Chappell's rejection of the FTC's initial proposal that Pom Wonderful must conduct clinical trials, similar to what is required for approval of medication, to make health claims.
David Vladeck, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, had said in a statement that he is "pleased" with the ruling.