The battle against Airborne Oregano


A pair of marketers in the remedy/supplement space has been hit with substantial FTC punitive measures for making false claims, one much more so than the other. By far, the big loser was Airborne Health Inc., which sold pills that would supposedly protect the user from picking up diseases from germs in acquired in crowded places like airplane cabins. It’s been ordered to $6.5M on top of $23.5M in refunds and attorney fees already assessed per a class action suit. Oregano Supplement Marketers said their oregano based product would boost the immune system and ward off an impressive list of diseases, and has been fined $2.5M. In both cases, claims about the products’ effectiveness were advertised without any scientific backing.

RBR/TVBR observation: We don’t recall ever seeing a broadcaster held to account for running somebody else’s false advertising. That’s the good news – broadcasters are not expected to be scientific experts, nor are they expected to police the airwaves for these types of infractions. Still, you are doing your audience a disservice when running ads for bogus products, so if something doesn’t quite pass the smell test, it might be a very good idea to check out the advertiser and the product before accepting the buy.