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Wrigley Competitors Green With Envy

By Matt Wood in Food on Oct 13, 2006 12:02PM

chicagoist_200610_wrigley.jpgThings have been busy lately for our friends at Wrigley (the gum manufacturer, not the baseball team--you know those guys aren't busy in October). They've been defending themselves from both advertising watchdogs and people who make treats for dogs. First, the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau recommended that Wrigley stop marketing its claim that its Orbit gum "removes over 40% of stains," because it wasn't supported by sufficient scientific evidence. NAD's decision was spurred by a complaint by Wrigley competitor Cadbury. If this could do anything to stop those cheeky "dirty mouth" commercials, then we'd be all for it. Not likely though, because the NAD said that Wrigley's other claims, like "proven to whiten teeth and remove stains," and "for whiter teeth no matter what" were reasonable, though the latter is "likely to be construed as puffery" by customers. Now who has the dirty mouth?

Meanwhile, Wrigley has also been sued by a company that wants to make parody versions of their Altoid mints for dogs and cats. Munchkin, Inc. says Wrigley threatened them over plans to market "ferociously strong" "Cattoids" and "Dogtoids." Aside from being a ferociously lame idea, we don't see how Munchkin has a leg to stand on, let alone four. Why else would they attach "-toids" to a product name, other than to piggyback off Altoids' brand recognition? Regardless, the thought of hearing a court clerk announce the case of "Munchkin vs. Wrigley," then listening to a federal judge have to discuss the merits of "Dogtoids" and "Cattoids" just makes us shake our head at how we thought about this enough to care in the first place.