I just spotted this on Info Marketing Blog — as one of the boldest ads to ever be published.

Nearly every health ad misses one critical component. It’s not the lack of claimed health benefits.

It’s the lack of credible benefits. Proving the benefits and making sure the audience believes it is difficult for most copywriters.

I’ve heard a former FTC lawyer once say that about 9 out of 10 cases are won by the FTC when brought to court. It’s difficult to win, but when you do even after months of investigation it shows that your claims are rock solid.

Here’s what the judge wrote (POM Wonderful LLC, Initial Decision (5/17/2012), page 282):

“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.”
– Judge Chappell, Chief Administrative Law Judge, FTC

You can view some more of PomWonderful’s ads here (then, click on their sidebar).

A government endorsement is big. Shock Marketer’s lesson: Use the biggest endorsement you possibly can.

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6 thoughts on “Why One Advertiser May Love The FTC

  1. A relative of mine works for Welch’s and they previously made some good Pomegranate juices and then pulled them from the shelves after some litigation from POM. Apparently POM did all the research about the antioxident benefits and threatens to sue anyone trying to use the same claims for other pomegranate products. These guys are like a hard core patent troll.

    • That’s too bad for Welch’s. POM has insanely good legal counsel then. POM has spent a lot of money on getting these claims; some of their ads tout “$25 million in medical research.”

    • Yes, but it really depends on the audience.

      Some people trust whatever the government says, so a Federal Judge’s statement is credible to them.

      Others love Oprah so much that whatever she says is right.

      Also, there’s bandwagon appeal and they trust what dozens of 5 star reviews on Amazon say.

      It really depends. So use the most credible statement for the audience (or use as many different ones as possible).

  2. I’m guessing you didn’t actually read what the judge said. This is literally the next sentence after you quote.

    “However, the greater weight of the persuasive expert testimony shows that the evidence relied upon by Respondents is not adequate to substantiate claims that the POM Products treat, prevent, or reduce the risk of prostate cancer or that they are clinically proven to do so. Indeed, the authors of the Pantuck Study and the Carducci Study each testified that their study did not conclude that POM Juice treats, prevents, or reduces the risk of prostate cancer.”

    • I’m guessing you missed the point of the article. POM was still able to find benefit in advertising the judge’s comments. And, it did give POM credibility in most areas.

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