Papa John’s International, Inc., is the third-largest pizza chain in the United States, with more than 2,050 locations. Papa John’s adopted a new slogan—“Better Ingredients. Better Pizza.”—and applied for and received a federal trademark for this slogan. Papa John’s spent over $300 million building customer recognition and goodwill for this slogan. This slogan has appeared on millions of signs, shirts, menus, pizza boxes, napkins, and other items, and it has regularly appeared as the tag line at the end of Papa John’s radio and television advertisements.
Pizza Hut, Inc., is the largest pizza chain in the United States, with more than 7,000 restaurants. Pizza Hut launched a new advertising campaign in which it declared “war” on poor-quality pizza. The advertisements touted the “better taste” of Pizza Hut’s pizza and “dared” anyone to find a better pizza. Pizza Hut also filed a civil action in federal court, charging Papa John’s with false advertising, in violation of Section 43(a) of the federal Lanham Act.
1. Explain the difference between false advertising and puffery. Are consumers smart enough to see through companies’ puffery?
2. Is the Papa John’s advertising slogan “Better Ingredients. Better Pizza.” false advertising? Explain your answer.
3. Did Papa John’s act ethically in making the claims it made?
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