Business: Taking It Back

Corrective ads for Listerine

In promotions stretching back to 1921, Warner-Lambert has asserted that its Listerine mouthwash helps prevent colds and sore throats. Last week that claim was finally snuffed out by a fatal regulatory infection called truth in advertising. The Supreme Court declined to review a lower court decision upholding a 1975 Federal Trade Commission order: the company must not only stop making the claim but specifically advertise that it is not true. In its next $10 million worth of Listerine ads—about a year's budget—Warner-Lambert must insert this statement: "Listerine will not...

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