Airborne: Does it Really Work?

Category: Education

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Julie Frankenfield


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Airborne: Does it Really Work?:

Airborne: Does it Really Work? Julie Frankenfield MGMT 5000

How it got started…:

How it got started… 1990s: “Remedy” created by former second grade school teacher Victoria Knight-McDowell Influenced by study of Eastern Medicine 2 Airborne Supplement As A Cold Remedy... Does It Work? Is It Safe? The Fun Times Guide to Healthy Living. ( n.d .). Retrieved December 1, 2014, from

Claim to Fame:

Claim to Fame The company blatantly advertised that the product could cure the common cold as well as prevent contraction Eureka!

The problem is…:

The problem is… There is no cure to the common cold! Can try vitamin C, Echinacea, or zinc for temporary relief of symptoms All are present in Airborne Mixed scientific results that above actually do temporarily relieve cold symptoms

…trouble with the law:

…trouble with the law At that time, dietary supplement makers would allowed to advertise that their products had an affect on people Were not allowed to say that their products could cure illnesses without the permission of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)


Exposure 2006: ABC News’ Good Morning America exposé Non-scientific studies done by GNG Pharmaceutical Service Good Morning America.(n.d .). Retrieved December 2, 2014, from http://

Brought to court:

Brought to court An intent to suit filed, with the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) against Airborne Language changed to Airborne products: “boosted immunity”

Brought before the FTC:

Brought before the FTC Investigations of the company began by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Decided, 3:1, that there was evidence to support that Airborne had violated laws against the protection of consumers due to false advertising


Settlement 2008: Airborne agreed to pay $23.3 million for the reimbursement of consumers If failed to execute by October 31, 2008 would have to pay the FTC $30 million to come up with a plan to reimburse consumers


Victory? Still selling the product, but now has to limit advertising to what is “technically true”


Opinion Decade to sell reputation before forced to change advertising scheme Must include disclaimer (barely visible) Difference between actual cold cure/treatment and product that only “boosts the immune system” could be confusing to non-scientists

Conclusion: Fleeting Victory:

Conclusion: Fleeting Victory Airborne made to remove more ostentatious marketing claims due to being inappropriate and misleading, but have been allowed to continue with more ambiguous advertising May not be enough to protect the consumer from pseudo-science


Citations Airborne Agrees to Pay $23.3 Million to Settle Lawsuit Over False Advertising of its "Miracle Cold Buster" . (2008, March 3). Retrieved November 13, 2014, from Center for Science in the Public Interest website:   Airborne Settles Lawsuit for $23.3 Million . (2008, March 4). Retrieved November 13, 2014, from CNN Money website:   Airborne Settles Suit Over False Claims . (2008, March 6). Retrieved November 13, 2014, from NPR News: Health website: http:// =87937907   Airborne . ( n.d .). Retrieved November 13, 2014, from Airborne Health website: http:// /   Diseases and Conditions: Common Cold . (2013, April 17). Retrieved November 13, 2014, from Mayo Clinic website:   Does Airborne Really Stave off Colds? (2006, February 17). Retrieved November 13, 2014, from ABC News: Good Morning America website: http:// =1664514&page=1   Makers of Airborne Settle FTC Charges of Deceptive Advertising; Agreement Brings Total Settlement Funds to $30 Million . (2008, August 14). Retrieved November 13, 2014, from Federal Trade Commission website:   Minneapolis-based Airborne acquired by nutrition company . (2012, April 2). Retrieved November 17, 2014, from   Shin, A. (2008, August 15). Airborne Coughs Up Millions to Settle Suit . Retrieved November 13, 2014, from The Washington Post: Business website: 13

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