LawyersandSettlements.com is releasing its list of the Top 10 Most Ridiculous Marketing Claims from consumer fraud lawsuits during the last year.
The alleged false advertising claims found in these ten consumer fraud lawsuits shows the extent to which marketers may go in order to promote their products, as well as the level of consumer savviness that exists in the marketplace. Consumers will clearly check marketers on promotional claims where product performance does not appear to live up to what’s being promised.
Here, our list of most ludicrous marketing claims found in consumer fraud class action lawsuits during 2012:
1. Coty’s Rimmel London Lash Accelerator was the target of a consumer fraud class action in 2012. Filed in federal court in California, the consumer fraud class action lawsuit, entitled Algarin v. Coty Inc., Case No. 12-cv-2868 JAH JMA) alleged that Coty deceives consumers by advertising that Rimmel London Lash Accelerator mascara with Grow-Lash Complex lengthens eyelashes by 37 percent within one month and, with regular use, increases their number. The Rimmel London Lash Accelerator class action lawsuit makes our top 10 list for if the product really did generate that kind of eyelash growth, Coty would likely be facing a personal injury lawsuit resulting from eyelashes restricting visibility.
2. PepsiCo and its subsidiary Frito-Lay also faced the wrath of disgruntled consumers in Markus Wilson v. Frito-Lay North America, Inc. and PepsiCo, Inc., Case No. 12-cv-01586, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, Oakland Division. The class action lawsuit alleged Frito-Lay misbranded its Lay’s Potato Chips as healthy by claiming they contain “0 grams of Trans Fat,” while not pointing out in advertising that every 50 chips contains more than 13g of fat. Additionally, the lawsuit states Frito-Lay tells consumers “Snacks may benefit special populations including people with diabetes, children and adolescents, older adults, and pregnant women.” Really?
3. Pepperidge Farm faced a deceptive marketing practices lawsuit. In Bolerjack v. Pepperidge Farm, Inc., Case No. 12-cv-2918, U.S. District Court, Colorado (Denver), the lead plaintiffs alleged the company “mistakenly or misleadingly represented that its Cheddar Goldfish Crackers are ‘Natural,’ when in fact, they are not, because they contain Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in the form of soy and/or soy derivatives.” Makes you wonder what part of the name “Cheddar Goldfish Crackers” could possibly imply that they are natural? Think about it.
4. ConAgra Foods Parkay Spray. ConAgra Foods faced a class action lawsuit for allegedly misleading consumers over the fat content of Parkay Spray butter substitute. The Parkay lawsuit, Pamela Sue Trewhitt v. ConAgra Foods, Inc., Class Action Case No. 8:12-cv-00287-JFB-TDT, United States District Court for the District of Nebraska, claimed that ConAgra intentionally misrepresented the contents of Parkay Spray butter substitute as “fat-free” and “calorie-free” when it allegedly contains 832 calories and 93 grams of fat per 8 oz. bottle.
5. Kao Brands, makers of Jergens products saw the legal community championing the consumers’ right-to-know over alleged erroneous claims in the packaging, labeling, marketing, advertising and promotion of Jergens Skin Firming Daily Toning Moisturizer. Among the Jergens false advertising claims alleged in J’lyshae Burns v. Kao USA, Inc., Case No. 12-cv-3261, US District Court, Northern District of California, are that the lotion’s ‘clinically proven to reduce the appearance of cellulite,’ that it will tighten a user’s skin, and produce improved resiliency, elasticity, and firmness.” This one makes the top 10 for if Kao Brands had found a way to “produce” firmness, Jergens Skin Firming Daily Toning Moisturizer would have the attention of the medical community.
6. Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. Another class action lawsuit to come out of the food and beverage industry was the one filed against Dr. Pepper Snapple Group over its 7UP Cherry Antioxidant, 7UP Mixed Berry Antioxidant and Diet 7UP Mixed Berry Antioxidant sodas. The consumer fraud lawsuit, Green v. Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc., was filed US District Court, Central District of California, No. 12-09567, and alleged that antioxidants contained in the 7UP sodas were falsely stated as being derived from blackberries, cherries, cranberries, pomegranates and raspberries, rather than added Vitamin E.
7. Avon Products, Inc. was hit with a consumer fraud class action lawsuit over its Anew skin care line. At issue, according to the lawsuit entitled Lorena Trujillo v. Avon Products, Inc., Case No. 12-9084, California Central District Court, are alleged false advertising anti-aging claims made by the cosmetic manufacturer regarding its Anew Clinical Advanced Wrinkle Corrector, Anew Reversalist Night Renewal Cream, Anew Reversalist Renewal Serum and Anew Clinical Thermafirm Face Lifting Cream products. Avon is alleged to go as far as to compare the products to “procedures found in a dermatologist’s office” and to claim that these same products can boost collagen, recreate fresh skin and fortify damaged tissue. Even the FDA got in the act on this one–they issued a warning letter indicating that the products have been misrepresented to consumers.
8. Maybelline faced a consumer fraud class action over its “Super Stay” lipstick and lip gloss–allegedly they weren’t staying on as long as promised. The lipstick lawsuit, entitled Carol Leebove, et al. v. Maybelline LLC, Case No. 12-cv-07146, alleged L’Oreal SA, the parent company of Maybelline, falsely advertised the staying power of both the Super Stay lipstick and lip gloss by naming them Super Stay 14HR Lipstick and Super Stay 10HR Stain Gloss. One of the plaintiffs for the lawsuit alleged that the long-lasting lipstick would wear off as soon as she ate a meal or had a drink. The Maybelline lawsuit alleged unjust enrichment, breach of warranty and violations of various consumer-protection laws.
9. Arctic Zero frozen desserts were on the receiving end of a class action lawsuit that alleged the desserts have 46% to 68% more calories than advertised. The Arctic Zero lawsuit, entitled Brenda Freeman v. Arctic Zero, Inc., Case No. 12-cv-2279 L BGS, US District, Southern District of California, alleged the company deceptively labels and markets its frozen treats as having only “150 calories per pint.” It goes on, however, to say the frozen desserts contain up to “68% more calories than advertised based on findings from recent independent laboratory tests performed by EMSL Analytical, Inc.” Specifically at issue in the class action were the Arctic Zero Chocolate Peanut Butter, and Arctic Zero Vanilla Maple which allegedly had 46% more calories than the 150 calories advertised.
10. Chobani Yogurt found itself involved with a consumer fraud class action lawsuit in Kane v. Chobani, Inc., No CV12-02425 (U.S. Dist. Ct., N.D. Cal., San Jose Div., filed May 14, 2012). The lawsuit alleged Chobani Inc. made deceptive marketing claims concerning the use of certain terms on its Greek yogurt products. Specifically, Chobani’s use of “evaporated cane juice’, ‘all natural ingredients’ and ‘only natural ingredients’ as terms to describe the yogurt allegedly failed to disclose that ‘evaporated cane juice’ is commonly referred as sugar or dried cane syrup.