Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara is the NFL’s “Golden Jubilee,” and many companies are eager to get in on the celebration, spending $5 million for 30 seconds of air time. But what consumers may not realize is how many of these companies have been called out for misleading or deceptive advertising. Over half of the Big Players (advertisers, that is) have faced federal, state or court challenges about product claims within the past five years – close to half in 2015 alone. Luckily, TINA.org has got your back with our annual list of companies fumbling the truth.
LG is new to the Super Bowl, but its promotion of OLED TV technology resulted in a March 2015 class-action lawsuit for allegedly deceptively advertising that its televisions have higher refresh rates (which measure the number of times unique images appear on the screen
Butterfinger will be the star of Nestle’s Super Bowl reappearance this year, but the company is facing class-action lawsuits over its advertising of Coffee-Mate creamers as containing “0g Trans Fat,” its “No Sugar Added” label on its Eskimo Pies and failing to disclose that the cocoa beans in its chocolate products may be gathered by child and slave labor.
Nestle’s competitor, Mars, isn’t off the hook either regarding the child and slave labor allegations. In September 2015, the maker of the popular Snickers and Skittles candy was also accused of failing to disclose that its chocolate products may contain cocoa beans gathered through child and slave labor.
The toothpaste company will air a Super Bowl commercial centered on water conservation, but is it white washing the truth about its Optic White toothpaste? In January 2015, a class action lawsuit was filed against the company alleging its “Optic White” doesn’t whiten quite as deeply as it claims.
Move over Volkswagen, another German company, BMW, is being sued for allegedly deceptively marketing turbocharged engines as “TwinPower Turbo” when they are actually single-turbo engines. BMW also settled an FTC complaint regarding the warranty for its MINI.
This “pal” ended up costing consumers more than they bargained for when paying online. The company illegally enrolled customers in an online “Bill Me Later” credit program that subjected them to interest charges, according to the CFPB. Under a consent order the company agreed to return $15 million to customers and pay a $10 million penalty.
There’s no Super Bowl without Coke. But the company’s claim that its soft drinks have no artificial flavors or chemical preservatives has landed it in court. And its marketing of vitaminwater as a healthy drink has prompted legal battles.