Little Blue Packets Take Little Yellow Packets To Task

from Chicago Tribune: Unable to ride the growth in the popularity of artificial sweeteners, the Chicago-based distributor of Equal finds itself in a desperate fight to regain lost market share, resuscitate falling sales and come out strong against its competitors in new markets.
Last Friday, Merisant filed a lawsuit against Splenda-maker McNeil Nutritionals, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, alleging its rival’s advertising is false in stating that it’s “made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar.” In its marketing campaigns, Splenda has focused its message and capitalized on the Atkins, South Beach and other low-carb diets.
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“There is no sugar in Splenda and Splenda’s taste does not come from sugar. Moreover, Splenda is not natural in any sense of the word,” the company alleged in the lawsuit.
McNeil denied that it has misled consumers. “We have never claimed that it is natural, nor would we. It is a sugar substitute,” said spokeswoman Monica Neufang.
In 2002, Splenda spent $20.3 million on advertising, more than triple the $6.6 million spent by Equal. In 2003, Splenda spent $21.8 million on ads, double the $11.5 million spent by Equal.

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About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.