Coca-Cola (ticker KO), having recently reached a $1.2 million preliminary settlement in a class-action lawsuit over deceptive labeling of its Glacéau Vitaminwater drinks, has announced a new marketing campaign for the product line that will feature the slogan “Vitaminwater…Kills Ebola Dead.”
Novice Fawcett, the Frank Abagnale Professor of Law at South Jersey Law School, has been following the case and was unfazed by the announcement:
“The new slogan is bad, but consider whom you’re dealing with. Let me read to you some language that was once used to market Vitaminwater: ‘…specially formulated to provide vitamin (A), antioxidants and other nutrients [that] scientific evidence suggest may reduce the risk of age-related eye disease…’ There’s plenty more where that came from. This is just sugar water with added vitamins. They’d market crocodile piss as a high end drink if they could bottle it.”
This is, after all, Coca-Cola. In 2010, in a different lawsuit brought against the company by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Federal Judge John Gleeson (U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York), in his ruling to reject the suit’s dismissal, wrote, “At oral argument defendants suggested that no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking vitaminwater was a healthy beverage.” It appears Coke, if its lawyers were being honest, didn’t expect its own advertising to be convincing. “That’s a bit hard to swallow, no pun intended,” said Fawcett.
An employee of Coke’s marketing department who asked to remain anonymous told Bud Fox News that the Vitaminwater executive who was initially asked to create a new campaign for the product was removed from the project after his first presentation on the matter. Apparently, the executive had proposed renaming Vitaminwater. His short list of suggested names is below:
When asked whether the executive was fired for a specific reason, our source replied, “He was too honest.”