POM’s Lame Defense

Pom Products

It didn’t take long for POM Wonderful LLC, makers of POM pomegranate products which last week were found to have committed false advertising when they exaggerated their product’s health benefits, to respond.  However, instead of a humble response or repositioning, POM began what is by anyone’s standard a bold and misleading ad campaign to defend itself. Or as BrandChannel.com called it: “an extraordinary thumb in the eye of the federal regulatory agency.”

The ad, which ran in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post and CNN, tried to spin the ruling in its favor. As the the NY Times pointed out:

[The Judge] found that the company had insufficient evidence to support claims that its juice reduced the risks of heart disease, prostate cancer and impotence, and issued a cease-and-desist order that forbids the company from making the claims for 20 years … Those aspects of the judge’s ruling are not mentioned in Pom Wonderful’s new ads, however. Rather, the ads use flattering phrases plucked from the ruling to recommend the health benefits of pomegranate juice and invited readers to “be the judge.”

Its not hard to see how the ad that uses three quotes pulled out of context from the 334-page long document might seem like a lame defense. So, really, you be the judge.

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About the Author

is a former marketing consultant who decided, at the age of fifty, to turn her hand to creative non-fiction. Jennifer continues to write about sustainable food and wine, the intersection of food and marketing and food politics for EatDrinkBetter.com and is the author of Greening Your Small Business (November 2009, Penguin Group (USA)). She was named one of The 16 Women You Must Follow on Twitter for Green Business. She has four kids, a dog, a hamster and an MBA - follow her on and .
  • Richard

    Any health claims by food producers can be said to be unproven. The Federal Government of Corporate America won’t allow anyone to usurp the power of Big Pharm… or Big Farm for that matter. I cannot tell you that my eggs from my organically raised chickens are healthier for you than a factory farmed egg. It doesn’t matter if common sense tells you its true, the government won’t allow it.
    I believe that real Pomegranate juice is healthy and good for me, the FDA be damned!

  • Richard, I agree with you that pomegranate is healthy and good for you. Its a shame, however, that POM needs to make excessive claims about the health benefits in order to market it. Why not a simple and more accurate message? Marketers need to be accurate and transparent in order to win consumer’s confidence. I hate being suspicious of manufacturer’s claims so I just want to be told the accurate facts.