WASHINGTON — The National Consumer League on Wednesday filed a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission that called into question advertising and labeling claims made by Glacéau’s Vitaminwater.
The NCL identified print and television advertisements that suggested that Vitaminwater can replace flu shots and prevent illness as “dangerously misleading.”
“These advertising claims are not only untrue; they [also] constitute a public health menace,” stated NCL executive director Sally Greenberg. “Stopping these Vitaminwater claims, which contradict information by the Centers for Disease Control [and Prevention] and other public health authorities, should be a top FTC priority. ... The FTC should act now, during cold-and-flu season, to stop Vitaminwater’s outlandish claims.”
Vitaminwater is a beverage manufactured by Glacéau, a subsidiary of the Coca-Cola Co. The complaint by NCL urged the FTC to address a poster ad for “Vitaminwater” that stated “Flu shots are so last year” and pictured three varieties of Vitaminwater under the banners “More vitamin C, more immunity."
The NCL also identified a TV ad for “Vitaminwater power-c” that depicted a woman who has so many unused sick days at work that she can take them to stay home and watch movies with her boyfriend. The ad stated: “One of my secrets? Vitaminwater power-c. It’s got vitamin C and zinc to help support a healthy immune system. So I can stay home with my boyfriend — who’s also playing hooky.”