Apparently, the hot dog giveaway by Oscar Mayer this past Wednesday generated some unexpected publicity for the famous purveyor of tubular meat-ish products.  Instead of all the goodwill emanating from a benevolent gesture prior to one of the nation’s biggest cookout weekends, OM may now be facing a lawsuit thanks to the good folks at Sara Lee (maker of Ball Park franks).  No good deed goes unpunished, apparently.

From the Chicago Tribune (via Consumerist):

The Sara Lee suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, says the ad is false and misleading because in large type it implies one Oscar Mayer dog bested the taste of all Ball Park dogs. But the footnote, “in very small type,” says that Oscar Mayer compared its hot dogs to “the leading beef franks” of its main rivals.
Now I have a couple issues here.  This lawsuit is clearly ridiculous, because there actually is a footnote which gets OM off the hook.  Lawsuit fail.  That said, I see a larger problem that speaks to the current state of food marketing these days – making slightly misleading and/or dubious claims in order to pump up brands.  What I want to know, is where is the support for this assertion?  There is a vague reference to a “national study,”  but that could mean they are just listening to the crazies on their YouTube channel stating their unconditional love for the Oscar Mayer wiener.  Is this really a crowd you want to base your brand reputation on?
Also, if I remember correctly, Domino’s got in similar hot water for their claim that their subs were so much better than those from Subway.  Why can’t these companies simply lay out their research?  Wouldn’t all these problems go away?  Maybe I am just thinking of this too logically.  Why tell the truth when it is so much easier to hope nobody notices.  (Seems that someone noticed, Oscar.)

H/t to Peta2 for the photo above of someone you will not find on OM’s YouTube channel.

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JT

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One Response

  1. TheGoldenPoo

    Companies, when describing their products have been giving loads of wiggle room. It’s just in poor taste when a company tries to boost their image by using questionable methods that skirt on the edge of outright lying. This is a classic case of giving someone an inch and they take a mile. The public is way more informed than they used to be, and your article proves this. They don’t get away with these sort of tactics for very long.

    They should be happy they aren’t required to have literal descriptions in their ads. Calling it “Salty Tube-Shaped Mixed Meat Paste” probably wouldn’t sell a whole lot of ‘hot dogs’

    Reply

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