Consumers International recently announced the results of its International Bad Products Award. The “winners” of 2007 include:
Coca-Cola, for marketing its bottled tap water (Dasani) as something that is vastly superior to the water out of your tap
Kellogg’s, for marketing sugary, salty, junk food to children, with the message that these foods can give you amazing physical attributes
Mattel, for stonewalling US congressional investigations and avoiding responsibility for the global recall of 21 million toys tainted with lead; one containing more than 200 times the permitted amount of lead
But the “grand prize” this year went to Takeda Pharmaceuticals, for advertising sleeping pills to children. By using “reminder ads” (a slick loophole that allows companies to advertise without mentioning side effects), they were able to advertise their sleeping aid Rozerem, using images of children, classroom settings, and school buses, and using the reference of “Back to school” – all without ever having to mention ANY of the many side effects of this drug, or the fact that the safety of Rozerem for pediatric or adolescent use has never been established.
Amazingly, a spokesman for the company previously stated that no one at Takeda was responsible for putting this ad on TV… “To date our preliminary review of the situation indicates that no one internal to Takeda was involved in the approval, release, or broadcast of the advertisement in question,” Matt Kuhn told Bloomberg News.