It has quickly become a top selling yogurt in America, but Chobani faces a legal battle after being accused of false advertising by Dannon. It all started when Chobani launched its new ad campaign for the 'Simply 100' yogurt. Dannon claims those ads used false advertising and tarnished its reputation.
Chobani Greek Yogurt prides its self on using natural ingredients. In it's latest ad campaign for 'Chobani Simply 100,' it suggested that a competitor was not as health conscious.
"Dannon Light and Fit Greek actually uses artifical sweeteners like sucralose. Sucralose?! Why? That stuff has Chlorine added to it. Now there's Chobani Simply 100. It's the only 100 calorie Greek yogurt sweetened naturally," the commercial touts.
Print and digital ads and social media posts echoed that message about Dannon, which has headquarters in White Plains. Chobani uses the hastag #nobadstuff to market 'Chobani Simply 100'.
Dannon struck back, sending a cease and desist letter to Chobani, asking them to pull the ads. They accused the company of violating the Lanham Act which prohibits false advertising. In the letter, Dannon said Chobani made false, misleading, disparaging and deceptive claims. Chobani took the matter to federal court, asking for a declaratory judgment action and jury trial to prove they did not violate the act or state law, because all the statements they made were true.
In the meantime, Dannon claims the newest ad campaign has already caused immediate and irreparable harm. They asked the court for a preliminary injunction and a temporary restraining order to prevent any future impact. The matter was in court Friday, when a judged denied Dannon's motion for an evidentiary hearing and trial date to be set.
Chobani was granted its motion to get rid of a declaration from a marketing professor, who spoke on behalf of Dannon.
Well, Dannon argues that not only is it FDA approved, but chloride compounds are found in many everyday foods like salt, milk and celery - and Chobani yogurts. As part of their defense, they also say that chlorides in food are not the same as pool chlorine which is known as calcium hypochlorite.