Health Claims Questioned, POM Gets Sexual

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Some companies never learn.

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission accused POM Wonderful, a popular brand of pomegranate-based drinks, of making false and unsubstantiated health claims in a series of advertisements for its products.

According to the FTC, POM repeatedly made claims that its pomegranate juice and supplements could help prevent or treat heart disease, prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction. The FTC issued a warning to the company, arguing that there was no scientific evidence to back up these claims.

Government agencies have been aggressive in regulating consumer products this year, cracking down on things like Listerine, Acai Berry supplements and more for making unproven health claims. But POM has responded differently than most companies.

Rather than shy away from controversial advertising, POM seems to have embraced it. The company has switched from claiming its products are good for your heart to saying that they are good for your love life.

USA Today reports that POM will unleash a new advertising campaign to push the idea that pomegranates are, in fact, an aphrodisiac. Though the ads stop short of overtly declaring that POM drinks will improve your sex life, the people who run the company are not afraid to make that claim.

When the paper asked Lynda Resnick, co-owner of POM, if the blood-red juice can improve one’s love life, she replied, “I certainly believe it does.”

It seems doubtful that the FTC would ever be able to police this kind of ad, since the company does not actually make a specific health claim, but it certainly has a right to try. According to USA Today, the company will spend $10 million to air these ads during the next couple of months. For regulators at the FTC, that’s a lot of sexy pomegranate ads to watch.

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