"It is ridiculous to over-analyze what is meant to be humorous," said Francine Katz, director of consumer awareness at Anheuser-Busch.
'Worst Ads' of 1993
This list of "the most misleading, unfair and irresponsible" advertising of 1993 was compiled by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington-based consumer organization. The ads were selected by category.
Category: Airlines Advertiser: Northwest Airlines How ad may be misleading: Misrepresents dates for low fares. Company response: Ad "clearly states" there are limitations on low fares. *
Category: Alcohol Advertiser: Anheuser-Busch How ad may be misleading: Depicts man drinking Bud Light in back seat of limo, which is illegal in some states. Company response: "The majority of states make exceptions to open-container laws for limo passengers." *
Category: Automobiles Advertiser: American Honda Motor How ad may be misleading: Obscures the true cost of leasing its Accord. Company response: Ad meets "every legal, ethical and moral" standard. *
Category: Children's TV Advertiser: Hershey Foods How ad may be misleading: Claims Amazin' Fruit Gummy Bears are made with real fruit juice, but only few drops added. Company response: "We never promote it as a fruit, fruit substitute or fruit product." *
Category: Dietary supplements Advertiser: Nature's Plus How ad may be misleading: Claims its Source of Life supplement delivers "an incredible burst of energy." Company response: Consumers can get money back if they do not feel "burst of energy." *
Category: Energy/ Environment Advertiser: Amoco Oil How ad may be misleading: Claims its gas helps create a clean environment. Company response: Amoco gasoline minimizes pollution, so it benefits environment. *
Category: Financial services Advertiser: First Deposit National How ad may be misleading: Promotes "no annual fee" for Visa card, but credit line fees are higher. Company response: "First Deposit is only interested in acquiring customers who want and understand the product they are purchasing." *
Category: Food Advertiser: American Dairy Assn. How ad may be misleading: Claims Vitamin A in milk keeps skin smooth. Company response: Ad does not claim Vitamin A will prevent skin problems. *
Category: Non-prescription drugs Advertiser: CIBA Pharmaceuticals How ad may be misleading: Claims its cold medicine does not cause drowsiness. Company response: "The product does not make users drowsy." *
Category: Tobacco Advertiser: Brown & Williamson How ad may be misleading: Violates tobacco industry code linking Kool cigarettes to sexual attraction. Company response: Ad "conforms to the industry code in every way."
Category: Toys Advertiser: Hasbro (Wild West Cowboys) How ad may be misleading: Shows items not sold by Hasbro. Company response: Hasbro received only two calls from consumers asking for items not sold in ad.