A Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article reported that Kellogg Co. has agreed to pay $4 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that the company had used deceptive advertising in their 2008 ad campaign stating that their breakfast cereal could boost kids’ memory and attentiveness by nearly 20 percent.

The article, “Truth in Advertising Under Microscope,” shines light on the fine line separating fact from fiction in the world of advertising.

David A. Gurwin weighed in on the settlement stating that the FTC has its hands full separating the half-truths from the outright mistruths. “A statement can be literally true but still deceptive,” he said.

The problem with Kellogg’s campaign was that the findings of the study in question did not support the claim being made in the ads, which told viewers: “A clinical study showed kids who had a filling breakfast of Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal improved their attentiveness by nearly 20 percent.”

“There’s always a natural tension between the marketing department, whose job it is to promote a product, and the legal department, who tend to be more conservative and cautious,” Gurwin said. 

Read the full article – “Truth in Advertising Under Microscope” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 17, 2013)