Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Court Says Claims Fail Smell Test 
My daily email from The Daily Wire hit my inbox this morning and as I scoured it I was kinda shocked to see the below article. A few of us over at DIYbowhunter.com had a recent discussion regarding scent control and clothing and we all said that while clothing may aid in keeping your scent minimized, it would never completely get rid of it. Looks like a judge thought the same thing and that the advertising was misleading. I feel bad for the Scent Lok team on this one, but I am curious as to how they got their results. What was their research method?

A Federal District Judge has ruled that ALS, the manufacturer of Scent Lok clothing has failed a smell test as it were with claims that the company had 'odor-eliminating technology' or 'odor eliminating clothing'.

The same ruling says that Cabela's and Gander Mountain - both of which sell Scent Lok and their own private-label clothing are also guilty of deceptive advertising.

Scent Lok's advertising-at least in part- fails a Federal District Judge's smell test for odor elimination.
The Court's ruling says the "Defendants have published countless advertisements" almost all of which "utilize the slogans 'odor-eliminating technology' or 'odor-eliminating clothing.'" The Court further found that the experts agreed that the Scent Lok clothing "cannot eliminate odor, even when new."

The Court held that all advertisements that used the words "odor-eliminating technology," "odor-eliminating clothing," "eliminates all types of odor," "odor elimination," "remove all odor," "complete scent elimination," "scent-free," "works on 100% of your scent 100% of the time," "all human scent," "odor is eradicated," and graphics demonstrating that human odor cannot escape the carbon-embedded fabric are all false statements as a matter of law.

In addition, the Court found claims that the Scent Lok clothing could be "reactivated" to "like new" or "pristine" condition to be false as a matter of law.

An injunction barring ALS/Scent Lok, Cabela's and Gander Mountain from "further deceptive practices" will be issued.

With that ruling, claims against the companies could move to trial.

The case began in 2007 when Minnesota hunters Mike Buetow, Gary Steven Richardson, Jr, Joe Rohrbach, Jeff Brosi and Dennis Deeb, filed suit against ALS, Cabela's, Cabela's Wholesale and Gander Mountain, claiming their odor controlling clothing failed to perform as advertised.

Their complaint alleged that the clothing did not "eliminate" odor, and could not be "reactivated or regenerated in a household (clothes) dryer after the clothing has become saturated with odors".

During the course of the lawsuit, scientists from both sides worked to prove-or disprove-the claims.

As you can imagine, the results disagreed in all but one key area: both plaintiff's and defendant's attorneys and scientists agreed that carbon-embedded clothing cannot eliminate 100% of a hunter's odor.

In this case "eliminate" was the key decision point- the court ruled that the word "eliminate" meant "a complete removal" the same way a claim to remove roaches from a home would mean "all roaches" not just some.

Some of the ads, however, went on to use phrases such as "complete scent elimination" "scent free" "works on 100% of your scent (100% of the time)" and "odor is eradicated".

In the court's eyes, those claims were false and misleading - beyond any test of reasonableness.

Other ads, however, used enough language to qualify the claims they made. The Court tossed a claim for a declaratory judgement from the hunters on those advertisements.

So, you might ask, do the findings in the case prove that clothing really can't mask human scent?

Short answer, no. What it case has done is reiterate and reinforce the application of common sense to advertising messages - and consumer purchases.

If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

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