Branding Fail: FTC Unimpressed by POM’s ‘Wonderful’ Health Claims

If you, like us, liked the thought of making your body a veritable antioxidant-fueled, superhuman powerhouse simply by drinking delicious POM juice out of a neat-looking bottle, we’re sorry to burst your bubble.

POM Wonderful, which came under fire in May for using “false or misleading” claims about the health effects of its pomegranate juice drink, has lost its battle with the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC found that Pom made deceptive claims in 34 ads and promotional materials — several more than in the original May ruling, which cited 19 offending spots. Some of the no-nos cited by the FTC included POM’s claims that its juice could treat or prevent heart disease, prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction.

The new ruling bans POM from making claims any of its products are “effective in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of any disease.”

Don’t be too disheartened, though; studies do suggest that drinking pomegranate juice regularly can have positive impacts on your health, including reducing LDL-cholesterol in blood and lowering the level of systolic blood pressure–and studies measuring its effects on other ailments are in the works. It’s just not the holy grail of panaceas that ads like the one above would have you believe.

Now the question: How much will this ruling damage POM’s reputation? And how can the brand control the damage done?