Consumer News

Which Super Bowl 51 Advertisers Have Fumbled Ad Claims?

More than 80 percent of companies advertising in this year's game have faced deceptive advertising challenges.


Consumer News

Which Super Bowl 51 Advertisers Have Fumbled Ad Claims?

Super Bowl 51 between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons has not drawn as many advertisers as in past years. Slots for spots were still available a week before the game, Digiday reported. But still, at least 25 brands have signed on and will spend more than $5 million for a 30-second spot during the Feb. 5 broadcast. And while consumers will gather round to watch these companies compete for the funniest and/or most memorable commercials, we have kept in our memory which of these brands have been called out for misleading or deceptive advertising.

Of the 23 companies airing commercials Sunday, more than 80 percent have faced legal scrutiny about product claims within the past five years, more than one-third in 2016 alone.

Here are seven companies whose ad claims have been challenged for running afoul of the truth.

KFC will be airing its first Super Bowl commercial promoting Georgia Gold Chicken but Colonel Sanders has another worry besides the cost of the ad. KFC is facing a $20 million lawsuit alleging its family meals, shown in ads as filled-to-the-brim buckets of chicken, actually don’t fill up the buckets at all.
Anheuser-Busch has been the Super Bowl’s exclusive beer advertiser since 1975 and this year it will air commercials for its Busch, Bud Light and Michelob beers. But its marketing of Leffe beer as brewed in small quantities in abbeys under the supervision of monks has prompted a class-action lawsuit that alleges the beer is actually mass produced in automated factories.
Mr. Clean will be making an appearance this year in a Super Bowl ad but its parent company, Procter & Gamble, isn’t totally clean of deceptive advertising challenges. The company faces class-action lawsuits over claims that its Pampers baby wipes are “natural,” and that Kandoo wipes are “flushable.” It is also appealing a National Advertising Division decision that it lacked supporting evidence to claim that its Easy Ups diapers can help accelerate a toddler’s move to underwear.
This dedicated Super Bowl advertiser will reportedly attempt to personify the internet in its 2017 ad. But a class-action lawsuit filed against the company in 2016 took a look behind its claims that it provides a dedicated server for each customer, alleging that it really just provides a virtual private server that allows multiple customers to share resources on the same server.
Consumers are alleging this luxury car company steered them in the wrong direction about its “Cold Weather Package” for the 2015 Lexus GS 350. Lexus, which is owned by Toyota, claimed drivers could get a heated steering wheel with the purchase of the package. But consumers filed suit, alleging that the claim left them out in the cold, as in, the steering wheel did not, in fact, heat up.
Consumer advocates called on the FTC to put the brakes on ads by Mercedes-Benz representing that the company’s 2017 E-Class is a self-driving car when it actually doesn’t meet the NHTSA’s definition of one. The company discontinued the ad.
What’s a Super Bowl without a PepsiCo sponsorship? From its half-time show to an ad for its Lifewtr bottled water, the company is spending heavily to promote itself. But it’s also spending a lot of time in court with multiple class-action lawsuits alleging deceptive marketing of a variety of its products. One alleges that its Naked brand of smoothies misleadingly represents that, among other things, the beverages contain certain ingredients and that the vitamins in the drinks come from fruits and veggies. Another lawsuit filed against PepsiCo’s Izze Beverage Company takes issue with its “No preservatives” claim.

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This post was updated on 2/1/17 to reflect changes in Super Bowl 51 advertisers. 

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