December 13, 2016

In the News: My Pillow & False Advertising

Five years ago I wrote a pieced titled, "How to Predict the Future." The background was that several marketers had recently gotten into trouble for false or misleading claims. I shared proof that I had predicted their woes, but I also made it clear that I didn't think my predictions were anything special.

"In truth, anyone can be a swami when it comes to predicting the future of DRTV commercials that make such claims," I wrote.

I thought of that piece again when I read Venable's latest column in Response magazine. Here are the key paragraphs:

On Oct. 27, the Alameda County district attorney’s office filed suit against My Pillow in Alameda County Superior Court, alleging that the company made unsubstantiated claims that the pillow could help treat or relieve conditions such as allergies, asthma, fibromyalgia, insomnia, migraines, neck pain, restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, and TMJ ...

In addition, the company allegedly advertised its pillow as the 'Official Choice of the National Sleep Foundation,' without disclosing to consumers that the company was providing material support to the foundation in exchange for the endorsement.

Less than one week after filing the My Pillow complaint, the district attorneys and the company settled the case.

My Pillow paid "almost $1 million in civil penalties" and will "donate more than $100,000 to certain California charities," according to the article (full text here).

I predicted something like this would happen the moment I saw the claims referenced on the My Pillow Website. I have no legal training, nor am I clairvoyant, but I didn't have to be either to see this one coming. Neither do you. In my original piece, I lay out three steps for predicting and avoiding this kind of trouble.

Better yet, read a real legal expert. Jeff Knowles' columns are always highly informative.

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