POM Wonderful Returns to TV with Free Radical Fighting Characters

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This time around POM Wonderful isn’t likely to provoke the US Federal Trade Commission with its new advertising. The beverage brand’s new “Crazy Healthy” campaign marks its first time in three years to run TV spots, and they won’t be seen as controversial.

Just about two years ago, an agency judge ruled that the brand had gone too far in claims in its advertising that the fruit juice helps cure or mitigate specific diseases such as cancer. POM Wonderful objected by poking a thumb in the eye of the FTC with a provocative campaign, “FTC v. POM. You be the judge.”

But now, in its return to national US TV advertising starting this month, POM Wonderful has taken a much more oblique—and non-confrontational—approach with its messaging for 100% pomegranate juice. No images this time, as before the FTC action, of a POM Wonderful bottle with a noose around its neck and the tagline, “Cheat death.”[more]

Not promising any beneficial health effects in particular, instead the brand’s new campaign features CGI-created pomegranate-colored mythical figures who come to the assistance of consumers with the ample antioxidants in POM Wonderful, and over the four new spots (watch below) proceed to “impale” and “annihilate” free radicals, with twists of humor to boot. Free radicals are blamed by scientists for aging and tissue damage and even cancer. 

“It’s really about reinforcing the heatlh message of 100% pomegranate juice among existing customers and also reaching out to new ones, and getting them interested in the brand,” Dahlia Reinkopf, senior director of marketing for POM Wonderful, told brandchannel.

“We’re trying to make sure consumers know why they should be picking up a bottle of POM Wonderful” versus the proliferating number of competing drinks that contain pomegranate juice and other antioxidant-chocked dark-fruit juices.

She said the brand, which also just revamped its tea line, is returning to the airwaves for the first time in three years “because it’s a good time in the category to remind consumers” about POM Wonderful. And specificaly, Reinkopf said, the timing aligns with pomegranate season, which launches this month.

In the immediate aftermath of the FTC action in 2012, POM pulled in its reins and reverted to ads that focused on the ancient sex appeal of pomegranates rather than emphasizing health benefits. (It’s also got the go-ahead to sue Coca-Cola, following a recent ruling.) But Reinkopf insisted that the legacy of the FTC action didn’t “affect the timing or content” of the new campaign.

“We’ve invested $35 million in our commitment to scientific research on POM products worldwide, and we believe strongly in the health benefits of our POM Wonderful juice,” she said. “We’re just trying to remind consumers about the free radical-fighting antioxidants in pomengranate juice. The spots are crisp and to the point, and we think consumers will understand that message.”

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