Not a coveted award. Consumers International, a global federation of consumer advocate organizations, just announced their annual Bad Product Awards and we are distressed that three of the four are products for children.
1. Topping their list is Takeda Pharmaceuticals of Japan which marketed the sleeping pill Rozerem to children through a 2006 Back-to-School ad campaign. Television ads ran (without warnings about serious side effects) for over 6 months before the FDA asked them to stop.
2. You won't be surprised to learn that Mattel Toys made the list for their lack of accountability related to the massive toy recalls this year (including one toy that contained over 200 times the amount of lead permitted by US law). The company was cited for interfering with a congressional investigation and for initially letting their Chinese manufacturers take the blame for the product defects.
3. Kelloggs earned inclusion on the list for its "persistent and persuasive" advertising of junk food to children. 27% of its U.S. advertising budget targets kids under 12, often using popular cartoon characters. They market their high sugar products, some of which contain as much as 40% sugar, around the world.
4. The last "winner" of a Bad Product Award isn't specifically a product for children, but it was news to us so we're including it here. Dasani bottled water, produced by Coca-Cola was cited for essentially repackaging tap water. Dasani, to our surprise, isn't spring water, but is simply sourced from local tap water and bottled. While not illegal, their marketing ("filtered for purity…") is certainly misleading to consumers.
You can read Consumers International's Press Release here.