A Spirited Closing Letter
Bulk up while partying down. At least, that’s the message FTC staff was concerned consumers might take from ads for Devotion Vodka. According to the staff, the beverage was advertised to contain a significant amount of protein and to help build muscle mass — with the additional benefit of not causing hangovers.
As explained in a letter from the Division of Advertising Practices, the staff raised questions about Devotion’s marketing claims, but decided to close its investigation without taking law enforcement action. The reasoning behind the decision? “Among the factors we considered was Devotion’s prompt decision to cease making the claims noted above, as well as its having advised us that future advertising and marketing materials that contain the phrases ‘infused with protein’ or ‘infused with casein’ will make clear that Devotion Vodka does not contain a significant amount of protein (casein) and that the purpose of the protein (casein) in the product is to modify its taste.”
Like most closing letters, the staff isn’t saying one way or the other about whether the claims in question violated Section 5. The letter ends with a final suggestion: “FTC staff expects that your client will carefully review its claims to ensure that all future advertising complies with the FTC Act."
Sound advice for any company thinking about making nutrition or health-related representations.