Monday, August 24, 2009

Overblown Claims and Unethical Marketing Games in the "Berry" Business

There were lawsuits filed recently by Harpo Inc, producers of The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Dr Oz Show, targeting manufacturers of acai berry products among others.

“Consumers should be aware that neither Oprah Winfrey nor Dr Oz are associated with nor do they endorse any acai berry product, company or online solicitation of such products, including MonaVie juice products,” reads a statement on Winfrey’s website. Harpo attorneys are also pursuing marketers of resveratrol products who have taken the same liberties with Oprah's and Dr. Oz's names.

I'm happy to see the alleged deceptive practices of these companies exposed. I'm sure Britney Spears will follow with her own lawsuits -- the same "berry" manufacturers are using images of the young star on their obnoxious Internet popup ads.

“The acai berry supplement sales programs are among the most aggressive that we have seen using misleading sales tactics to scam consumers,” said one of those involved in the Oprah lawsuits. I agree -- I've never seen anything like the sleazy tactics used by these acai berry marketers. While its true that the antioxidants in acai are indeed quite powerful, the difference between them and other berries just doesn't merit this kind of crazy push. It's a fad-- pyramid marketers and even stores are going to be left with cases and cases of acai berry and other "miracle" berry products before the year is out.

“Consumers should always be skeptical and educate themselves instead of blindly believing any endorsement claims. Also, consumers need to be very wary of weight loss and health claims that sound too good to be true" warn those involved with the Harpo case.

As these lawyers and state officials are now discovering, the "acai berry revolution" turns out to be just another great, big Internet marketing scam.


1 comment:

LBJ11 said...

Thanks for posting this. I've been noticing the Oprah and Dr. Oz ads for quite some time. I figured if those folks were behind it, the marketing would be better and more direct. But I am glad to have it confirmed.