The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been asked to weigh in on Pernod Ricard USA’s challenge of claims made by competitor Bacardi USA’s Havana Club rum, which is made in Puerto Rico.
Pernod brought a challenge to the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs, alleging that Bacardi uses implied claims that mislead consumers into thinking Bacardi’s Havana Club rum is made in Cuba.
Pernod also markets rum under the Havana Club brand, which is produced in Cuba but isn’t sold in the United States because of the federal trade embargo.
Among the claims Pernod questioned is Bacardi’s description of its White Label rum as being “from Cuba” and that Havana Club is “Forever Cuban”—despite being made in Puerto Rico instead of Cuba.
Pernod believes Bacardi makes implied claims, including that its rum is made in Havana.
Among the examples of Bacardi advertising referenced by Pernod were images of Havana Club bottlers, neck hang tags, labels and shelf talkers.
Pernod requested that the NAD recommend that Bacardi change the name of its Havana Club rum and modify the allegedly misleading claims on its label and its advertising.
In response, Bacardi said it would discontinue the use of the challenged hang tags and revise in-store promotional materials but would not participate in the NAD’s self-regulatory process.“NAD was disappointed that Bacardi chose not to participate in the self-regulatory process with respect to the claims challenged by Pernod Ricard,” the organization stated when announcing this week that it was referring the matter to the FTC.