John Sullivan, shareholder in the firm's Corporate section, is quoted in a Bloomberg article "Purell’s Claim to Combat Disease Spurs Demand — and Lawsuits" about the dangers of false claims in advertising, using an example from movie "Elf."
Companies are allowed to make general, even grandiose, promises about the superiority of their products, said John Sullivan, a lawyer with Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney. But a company can’t make more specific claims unless they’re -- well, true.
Sullivan pointed to the 2003 Christmas movie “Elf,” in which the naive Buddy, played by Will Ferrell, takes a sign that says “World’s Best Cup of Coffee” literally.
“You did it! Congratulations!” the man-size elf shouts joyously at puzzled coffee shop employees. “World’s Best Cup of Coffee. Great job, everybody!”
“That’s legally permissible fluff,” said Sullivan. What isn’t legal is to claim, for example, that the coffee is 99.9% made from beans harvested in Colombia if it isn’t.