The Best Corporate Double-Speak, EVER! or…uh…not.

I have a follow-up to my recent post about VitaminWater. Apparently Coca-Cola is feeling some of the heat that has come from the pushback of their claims, to the point where lawyers for Coke have stated:

…no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking vitaminwater was a healthy beverage.

What an outstanding example of corporate doublespeak. Seriously, let’s review it again, and appreciate its aesthetic value.

…no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking vitaminwater was a healthy beverage.

I have an idea! Let’s place this in the context of other industries, and see if the humor remains in place.

  1. …no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking Amusement Parks were fun.
  2. …no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking cinemas showed movies.
  3. …no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking whiskey contained alcohol.
  4. …no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking automobiles were meant as transportation.
  5. …no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking London was populated by the English.
  6. …no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking Coca-Cola Lawyers were well versed in logic.

Honestly, I haven’t laughed so hard at a press release in ages.

Unfortunately, that’s not what was said. The quote cribbed by John Robbins comes from Ackerman v. The Coca-Cola Co., 2010 WL 2925955 (E.D.N.Y.)(Warning: PDF) regarding Coke’s request for dismissal, and can be found on page 33 of the court transcript.

Defendants contend that no reasonable consumer could have been misled by vitaminwater’s labeling because: (1) the FDA-Mandated label on each bottle bears the true facts about the amount of sugar per serving; (2) the allegations about brand names like “vitaminwater,” the one-word flavor names like “rescue”, slogans like “vitamins+water = all you need,” and sayings like “healthy as a horse” describe only puffery; and (3) no reasonable consumer could believe that vitamins and water are literally “all they need to survive” or all that “is in your hand” when holding a bottle that disclosed the presence of sugar.

It’s still odd logic, to be sure. After all, out of the three points mentioned by Coke in the above paragraph, only one is really relevant to the charges that their ads mislead, and they even admit that the brandname “vitaminwater” is puffery.

But this is, literally, not for me to judge. I’m here to point out that the phrase being bandied about the Internet as being said by Coke’s lawyer’s, simply isn’t true.