Airborne: thoughts of how the company is dealing with the false advertisement allegations

March 5, 2008 at 9:39 pm (public relations) ()

AirborneEveryone has his or her own tricks to overcoming or avoiding the common cold. For many, Airborne was the answer. In 2006, an ABC report sparked a lawsuit against Airborne on false advertising. Today, media are reporting that a $23.3 million settlement for refunding consumers has been made. Here are my thoughts on the good and bad things Airborne did in reacting to the allegations.


  • Responded immediately
  • Providing refunds – although consumers must show receipts
  • Revised Airborne Web site and packaging immediately to respond to “deceptive” wording
  • The health hotline gives consumers a place to ask questions about the product. I haven’t called it, but the concept shows that the company is listening and answering. It’s especially critical that Airborne directed consumers to physicians about further medical inquiries.


  • Airborne trusted and promoted inadequate research studies. They should have renounced it as good evidence, once it was found that the trials were not run by scientists, doctors, etc.
  • Airborne is not taking responsibility of the false advertising. If the company is settling the lawsuit with refunds, it should not continue to deny any wrongdoing. It was a matter of ethics, and by not owning up, the company will always face the false advertising as an issue. Instead, Airborne should make itself accountable and move forward from there. It shows integrity and transparency.

I believe that in a situation like this, it is important for a company to face it, deal with it, be honest and then move on. It keeps everything simple and saves the image of the company by reflecting its values for its consumers and stakeholders.

* Image courtesy of Airborne.


1 Comment

  1. Airborne Refunds » Airborne: thoughts of how the company is dealing… said,

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