Add it to the Making-Us-All-Look-Bad Files: California mother Athena Hohnenberg sued Nutella because their marketing led her to believe their Duncan Hines frosting in an European jar was healthy.
Or maybe it’s the Making-Us-All-Look-Like-Idiots-For-Not-Doing-It-First Files, since a California judge has just ordered Ferrero Inc to pay her three million dollars.
I totally, absolutely do not get this. Sure, I have deluded myself that stirring Nutella into my children’s morning oatmeal was more refined than dumping a melted Snickers bar in there. But I did so fully aware that I was kidding myself. When the nutritional information is right there on the side of the jar, I’m not sure how you can argue that it’s Nutella’s fault if you’re in denial.
The judge agreed with Hohnenberg’s assertion that Nutella’s advertising was deliberately misleading. While Ferrero doesn’t actually come out on TV and SAY “This stuff is arteriosclerosis on a spoon,” I don’t think they ever did a better job of convincing me they were “part of this healthy breakfast” than, say, Frankenberry.
This reminds me of a similar lawsuit two and a half years ago when Baby Einstein was shockingly proven to not make babies geniuses. Apparently someone’s kid got to pre-K without diagramming sentences in German, sued Disney, and that was the end of what had been my children’s favorite age-appropriate viewing.
At that time Vicky Rideout of the Kaiser Family Foundation justified the Baby Einstein burning-at-the-stake this way:
My impression is that parents really believe these videos are good for their children, or at the very least, not really bad for them.
You know what? That is EXACTLY my impression. The Baby Einstein DVD’s were, at the very least, “not really bad” for my children. Not compared to a lot of other stuff on television. And I feel the same way about Nutella: relax. It’s not poison in a jar. If you didn’t bother reading the label on what you were feeding your children, that’s your shortcoming. Don’t ruin the chocolatey goodness for the rest of us.
Do you think we need to be protected from Nutella or Baby Einstein? Did you believe their claims or find them misleading?