Dannon agrees to pay $21M and tone down yogurt ads


It’s not every day that actress Jamie Lee Curtis shows up in a Federal Trade Commission document, but she did this time due to her role in promoting Dannon yogurt products. The FTC says the company made unsupported health benefit claims, and the parties have agreed on a settlement which will stop the claims that involves payment of $21M to states represented by 39 participating attorneys general.

Dannon’s Activia was said to help consumers deal with irregularity, and DanActive was said to help consumers avoid catching the flu or a cold.

The FTC said, “Dannon claimed in nationwide advertising campaigns that DanActive helps prevent colds and flu, and that one daily serving of Activia relieves temporary irregularity and helps with ‘slow intestinal transit time.’ In television, Internet, and print ads, as well as on product packaging, Dannon also stated that there was scientific proof to back up these claims.”

Explaining the action, FTC said, “As part of its ongoing efforts to make sure that marketers do not overstate the health benefits of their products, the FTC charged that Dannon’s ads were deceptive because it did not have substantiation for its claims. The Commission also charged that Dannon’s claims that Activia and DanActive were clinically proven were false.”

“These types of misleading claims are enough to give consumers indigestion,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. “Consumers want, and are entitled to, accurate information when it comes to their health. Companies like Dannon shouldn’t exaggerate the strength of scientific support for their products.”

Dannon will be required to fork over the $21M to settle with the AGs, and will cease making unsupported claims about its products.