What happened to truth in advertising?
Shades of Claude Raines complaining to Humphrey Bogart in “Casablanca” – Gambling at Ricks. Just like when you need a 2” X 4” (actual dimensions which have been gone for years). We tend to trim here and there, no one gets hurt, everyone knows, anyway. A bit of larceny to some; expected for others. What happened to truth in advertising?
Subway simply got caught. This odyssey began in January in Australia when an alert sandwich muncher decided to measure his alleged 12 inch sandwich and report his finding through social media. You can imagine the hoopla, when he discovered that his promised one footer was only eleven inches. He was deprived of that extra inch of gustatory pleasure.
Well, the story and the product comparisons around the world took off, resulting in a number of lawsuits. Subway corporate officers began their own dance, starting with that the suspect sandwich was not baked to their specs, then a “footlong” is only a trademark, not a promise, only a descriptive. Then, as reported by Advertising Age on 1/25/13, the company submitted the following: “…We freshly bake our bread throughout the day in our more than 38,000 restaurants in 100 countries worldwide, and we have redoubled our efforts to ensure consistency and correct length in every sandwich we serve. Our commitment remains steadfast to ensure that every SUBWAY Footlong sandwich is 12 inches at each location worldwide."
The lawsuits are still whirling about, seeking to become class–action status. Stake out a position, for millions of Subway sandwiches are sold around the globe every year. As Reuters reported on 1/25/13, lawyer, Thomas Zimmerman, representing plaintiffs in the Chicago case, did just that: “"This is no different than buying a dozen eggs and getting 11," Zimmerman said. "You're buying a dozen inches and only getting 11." We all are shocked and shamed!
There is an object lesson here. When you go on record with a claim, make sure it is true. Is your fish fresh or your crab daily flown in from Alaska or all natural ingredients are used or even Mom’s Best? Just think how we promote ourselves and businesses. There may be some latitude, but not a lot in this information driven age.
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