Coke mired in legal wrangles over Glaceau Vitamin Water and Dr Pepper

Dr Pepper isn’t the only Coca-Cola brand to cause offence to consumers. Glaceau Vitamin Water is now facing a federal class action in the United States, which could end up costing the corporation millions of dollars and considerable damage to its reputation.

Glaceau is notorious for its “irreverent” (for which read “silly”) and cynical posturing. But that’s not what has landed Coke in deep water, or not overtly. Some folk evidently believe Glaceau has been peddling phony health benefits when, in reality, it is nothing more than sugar water with a few vitamins thrown in. In other words, far from preventing “age-related eye disease” (as the brand has claimed), its only durable side-effect is to make you fatter, if you consume enough of it.

The stakes are higher than they seem. Success for the plaintiffs would make Coke appear little better than a huckster apothecary hawking snake oil. But it will be years before we know the result – in all probability.

While on legal matters, I hear things have turned nasty at Coke over the Dr Pepper digital foul-up. Lean Mean Fighting Machine, the agency responsible, has resorted to lawyers after Coke decided to terminate its newly-won Diet Coke account without (as LMFM sees it) adequate financial compensation.

UPDATE 27/7/10. Legal fisticuffs have now ceased on the Dr Pepper/Diet Coke accounts, with LMFM and Coca-Cola agreeing to go their separate ways.

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