In the wake of the FTC charging on Sept. 27 that its ads made deceptive health claims, POM Wonderful didn't waste any time putting out new ads that steer away from any health benefits. Instead, the California-based beverage maker's just-released trio of new ads subtly makes mythological claims under a new tagline: "Powerful Then. POM Wonderful Now."
While not stated outright, the not-so-subtle message of the new commercials, POM Wonderful co-founder Lynda Resnick tells the Associated Press, is that POM improves your sex life. The campaign — narrated by Malcolm McDowell— isn't in response to the FTC, she adds, but as AP puts it, a response "to competition from Coke and Pepsi, which are slipping small amounts of pomegranate juice into new beverages and stealing market share."
In the spot above, actress Sonja Kinski continues channeling her mom Nastassja's infamous nude-with-snake photo by Richard Avedon, with a similarly posed commercial in which she portrays a naked Eve, tempted by a serpent (and a succulent pomegranate) in the Garden of Eden. Check out POM's other libido-targeted spots after the jump.
In its second new spot, Swedish actress Helena Mattsson (most recently seen on TV as Desperate Housewives' Irina) portrays Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love and desire, who introduced the pom to the island of Cyprus, where legend says it was declared an aphrodisiac:
POM's third new TV commercial features actor/model Erik Fellows as "the Persian Warrior," a virile sort who believes the pomegranate to be a symbol of strength and invincibility:
Resnick's AP interview states that the POM Wonderful brand
"will spend $10 million (confirmed in POM's press release this morning) airing spots through November — peak pomegranate season, says Resnick. She won't divulge revenue, but does say her company expects to sell 3 million cartons of fruit (24 pomegranates per carton) this year.
She says that she and her husband, who also own Fiji Water and Teleflora, are philanthropists and have not made money from the pomegranate business. "Ask our bankers."
Last week, the FTC charged POM with deceptive ad claims. "Any consumer who sees POM Wonderful products as a silver bullet against disease has been misled," says David Vladeck, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.
Resnick says the FTC is on a "witch hunt. They believe we are making disease claims, but we're not. We're making health claims." She says she takes two POM supplements (8 ounces) a day to reduce inflammation and help keep her healthy. Her father, 92, and mother, 87, drink POM juice, she says."
Late last week, POM Wonderful lost a legal tussle with Welch Foods, Inc. in a jury trial in the Los Angeles federal court.
According to the press release issued by Welch's law firm, the trial "involved a single cause of action for false advertising in violation of the Lanham Act, pertaining to Welch’s 100% White Grape Pomegranate flavored three-juice blend. Other causes of action had been thrown out when the court granted Welch’s motion to dismiss. After a six-day trial, a unanimous jury determined the plaintiff, POM Wonderful, suffered no harm in the form of lost sales. Final judgment will be entered upon the verdict in favor of Welch Foods."