Vitaminwater under fire for ‘dangerously misleading’ flu claims

Vitaminwater’s brand concept is a bit brazen in their marketing- remember their “OJ found guilty… of being high in sugar, that is” campaign a few years back?

The no-caps line of flavored waters (which is part of Glaceau, which is part of Coca-Cola) that insinuate you’ll gain energy, clarity or- I don’t know- brighter chakras?- by consuming them is the target of a consumer advocacy group that has complained the brand’s current marketing claims are “dangerously misleading.”

The group has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission calling out vitaminwater for claims it says constitutes a “public health menace.” The National Consumers League points to these two examples:

  • A poster ad for “vitaminwater” that states: “flu shots are so last year” and pictures three varieties of vitaminwater under the banners “more vitamin c, more immunity…”
  • A TV ad for “vitaminwater power-c” (read text of spot here) that depicts 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 states “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.”

NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg went on to say that the FTC should make investigating vitaminwater’s marketing a “top priority,” and sniffed:

“Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese; the last thing people need is sugar water with vitamins you could get from eating a healthy diet, or by taking a vitamin pill,” Greenberg stated.

You can read the NCL’s entire manifesto here. Are the claims just silly, or do you think they really pose a threat to American consumers?