A Manhattan judge ruled yesterday that Clorox, maker of Fresh Step cat litter, made “literally false” claims in its litter commercial when it said its product kills odor better than Arm & Hammer’s Super Scoop, a rival litter, made by Church & Dwight Co. (C & D). U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff ordered Clorox to stop airing the ads, which began running in February 2011.
In his ruling, Judge Rakoff cites the “unrealistic conditions” of testing Clorox claims to have performed on the litter. The company claimed to have conducted a “jar test,” which it says proved carbon, rather than baking soda, better eliminated cat odor.
“The court agrees with C & D’s expert that it is highly implausible that eleven panelists would stick their noses in jars of excrement and report forty-four independent times that they smelled nothing unpleasant,” the judge said. The judge added that continuing to air the ads would cause “irreparable harm” to Church & Dwight.
A Clorox spokesman said the company is disappointed in Judge Rakoff’s ruling and plans to vigorously defend the matter, according to the Wall Street Journal.