Is Paul McCartney in hot water for breaking his contract with Bayer and Purdue Pharma to launch his CBD line PureKana CBD Gummies?
This article bearing the logo of People magazine claims the pharmaceutical companies are none too happy with the singer-songwriter and plan to file a lawsuit against him and his business partners “for violating their contract and undercutting their prices.”
To prove that he won’t be intimated by Big Pharma, McCartney, who has been giving out samples of PureKana CBD Gummies to his celebrity friends (helping Drew Carey kick a nicotine habit and Halle Berry get off prescription pain medication), has a special offer just for readers: a trial bottle for which consumers only pay less than $6 for shipping. But act fast, the article says, because there is a limited supply.
Because of the high demand of PureKana CBD Gummies, Paul McCartney can only offer a limited amount of special samples so you’ll need to act quickly to take advantage of this amazing offer.
If all of this sounds a bit far-fetched that’s because none of it is true. It’s a fake article filled with fake celebrity endorsements of a product that is likely not going to sell out anytime soon.
A CBD company using a celebrity’s image, name or likeness without their permission to sell their product is nothing new. In fact, this isn’t even the only CBD gummy that has been marketed with a phony endorsement from McCartney.
But wait, there’s more.
Here are some additional issues TINA.org found after a reader alerted us to the fake article:
- Unapproved health claims: To the extent PureKana is (falsely) claiming its CBD gummies helped Drew Carey quit smoking, the company is making a smoking cessation claim that requires FDA approval or clearance. PureKana has neither. PureKana is also not permitted to make drug claims. In fact, the FDA has approved only one CBD product (a prescription drug product to treat seizures associated with certain diseases) but has sent dozens of warning letters to companies marketing CBD products with unapproved drug claims. Yet that has not stopped PureKana from claiming, without FDA approval, that its gummies treat arthritis and high blood pressure, relieve anxiety and enhance focus.
- A different offer: Those last two health claims appear on a page requesting shipping information, which is where consumers are directed when they attempt to take advantage of the trial bottle offer. The page further ratchets up the pressure to act fast with a countdown timer that ticks down from 10 minutes, falsely indicating when a purported limited supply runs out (the timer resets when you reload the page). But within seconds of being transferred to the page, a pop-up appears with a seemingly better offer for “free” bottles. However, clicking the link in the pop-up to claim this different offer leads to a page (warning that the “sell out risk” is “high”) where the preselected option is a buy-three-get-two free deal where the non-free bottles cost $40 each. In addition to time pressure tactics, preselected or prechecked boxes are another type of dark pattern, or design feature used to confuse and manipulate consumers into making decisions that they would not otherwise make.
- A hidden subscription: Under the “Rush My Order” button on this page is another preselected option: “Subscribe & Save.” However, the terms of the subscription, such as when billing occurs and how to cancel, aren’t disclosed anywhere on the page, in violation of the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act and FTC law.
- Logo no-go: This page also shows the FDA logo as part of a claim that the gummies are “made in FDA approved facilities.” There are two reasons why this is a problem: The FDA prohibits its logo from appearing on private sector materials and the FDA doesn’t approve facilities.
- Undisclosed influencer posts: Lastly, PureKana uses a fleet of influencers to promote its CBD products but what it fails to ensure is that its influencers properly disclose their connection to the company or that the posts are ads, as required by the FTC. Here are just two examples from PureKana influencer Alex Michael Turner (who claims the company’s products have treated his chronic joint pain from his genetic knee issues, as well as help with anxiety).
TINA.org reached out to PureKana for comment. Check back for updates.
Find more of our coverage on CBD here.