A federal judge recently dismissed a proposed class action lawsuit filed against Lance Armstrong and FRS Company (FRS), the manufacturer of energy and sports drinks and supplements. Lance Armstrong was an owner of FRS and served as an FRS Ambassador. In connection with his role, he participated in certain marketing and advertising of FRS products.
The class action complaint alleged that Armstrong and FRS stated that Armstrong’s success at the Tour de France was linked to his consumption of FRS products and that FRS products were his “secret weapon.” The plaintiffs alleged that they were misled by the advertisements in light of Armstrong’s admission that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France. The court dismissed the case, finding that the “secret weapon” statements were unquantifiable, said nothing about specific characteristics or components of FRS products, and thus amounted to “vague and subjective puffery.”
TIP: Although the court in this case found that the statements made by Armstrong in this case were just puffery, advertisers should be aware that there have been an increasing number of cases alleging that an advertiser is liable for statements made by a celebrity endorser.