Consumers have a right to expect that when a company represents that its products have been endorsed or positively reviewed by trusted media outlets, those representations are genuine. Accordingly, when unscrupulous companies mislead consumers by misrepresenting media coverage to be an endorsement, when it is not, or by representing a paid advertisement in a media outlet to be the same as an endorsement or positive review by that outlet, consumers have a right to hold that company to account in a court of law.
In this crowded field, the start-up Ritual, which sells its own line of multivitamins for women, has tried to stand out by focusing on facts. Its brightly colored ads on Instagram and Facebook have talked up openness around its ingredients, which are packaged in clear capsules and mailed to customers each month. Recently, Ritual introduced a campaign emphasizing its focus on science over gimmicky wellness trends, pitching journalists on its “pioneering message to differentiate between the myths and facts in the space.”
Yet a closer look at Ritual’s marketing showed that the Los Angeles company, which has raised $16.5 million in funding, has not always helped customers separate facts from spin. The company has paid for articles on websites like Well & Good and PureWow, and then taken positive quotes from those articles in its ads on Facebook and Instagram. It has also used news coverage from CNN and The New York Times to suggest that the outlets endorsed benefits from its vitamins.
When consumers purchase product reasonably believing, because of deceptive and misleading packaging or marketing materials, that it has been endorsed by or positively reviewed by trusted media outlets, when the product has not been positively reviewed or endorsed, the company selling that product has been unjustly enriched at consumers’ expense. The attorneys at Finkelstein, Blankinship, Frei-Pearson & Garber, LLP have successfully brought lawsuits on behalf of consumers aggrieved by such deceptive claims and are investigating the possibility that Ritual engaged in such practices. If you or someone you know has purchased Ritual multivitamins based on references to media coverage made by the product’s packaging or marketing materials, please contact us today.