A week ago I was made aware of a lawsuit against Coca-Cola, the parent company of Vitaminwater. Yet another lawsuit against alleged false advertising.
What surprised me was not the lawsuit by Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), but the defense by Coca-Cola. In this case, Coca-Cola’s lawyers asserted that “no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking Vitaminwater was a healthy beverage.” This is absolutely incredible. The argument is something like, ‘How could anyone possibly have ever thought vitaminwater was good for you?’ So let’s be clear, instead of denying the false advertising in any way, they said, in effect, no reasonable consumer would have believed our advertising hype. Well, considering one of their taglines is “It Works”, and the company sold for over 4 billion dollars (the biggest deal in beverage industry history) in 2007, a lot of people believed that hype.
For a helpful (and humorous) recapping of the Vitaminwater lawsuit, I highly recommend watching Stephen Colbert’s brief summary.
The point I’m making here goes well beyond one single misleading beverage. Perhaps this kind of thing happens a lot? Perhaps equipping yourself as an informed consumer is more important than ever, especially when you’re wading in the ‘health industry’ pool. In the end, your health is a function of your own personal choices, so we shouldn’t shift all of the blame to sneaky marketing. You and I are the only ones ultimately responsible for our bodies and what we put into them.
We’re more than a month into the New Year, and my e-mail Spam filter is still getting inundated with the New Year’s wave of rapid weight-loss tricks, elixirs and devices. I think I’ll keep them in my Spam box.
We’d love to hear from our readers: How does this lawsuit, and especially Coca-Cola’s defense, inform and shape your pursuit of healthy products?