U.S. Water News Online
ATLANTA -- The Coca-Cola Co. said its Argentine subsidiary
has filed a criminal complaint against executives of a unit of French
food and drink maker Danone and public relations firm Euro RSCG,
accusing them of orchestrating a smear campaign against Coke's Dasani
Atlanta-based Coca-Cola said in a statement the complaint was
filed in Argentina against two executives at Aguas Danone de
Argentina and an executive at Euro RSCG Buenos Aires under the
country's Unfair Trade Practices statute. Euro RSCG is based in New
Coca-Cola alleges there is strong evidence the executives executed
a widely circulated two-year Internet smear campaign that included
the dissemination of false statements against Dasani.
The actions, Coca-Cola said, called into question the quality of
Dansani, misleading consumers and negatively impacting the product
and parent Coca-Cola in Argentina and other Latin American countries.
Coke spokesman Dana Bolden said the maximum penalty that can be
imposed by the court in Argentina is a fine of up to $10,000
(euro7,253) per individual, which would be paid to the Argentina
treasury, not to the company.
Dasani was launched in Argentina in October 2005, and then
released in other countries in Latin America.
Immediately following the launch, Coca-Cola said, the brand was
maligned as "bottled tap water" and "cancer water" on the Internet.
The campaign extended beyond Argentina to Mexico, Colombia, Costa
Rica, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and a number of other Latin American
markets, Coca-Cola said. Major customers in Argentina have refused to
sell Dasani because of the rumors, Coca-Cola said.
Coca-Cola said that as it prepares its legal case, it will
consider whether other executives at Aguas Danone de Argentina, Euro
RSCG Buenos Aires or other agencies should be included in the
Messages left with a spokeswoman at Euro RSCG and with Group
Danone SA's public relations staff in France seeking comment were not
Dasani is water from a municipal source that is filtered and
purified and enhanced with minerals, according to Coca-Cola.
Outside Coke's annual meeting in 2006, activists were offering a
tapwater challenge to passers-by to try to demonstrate that Dasani
tastes no better than municipal tap water but is much more expensive.
Return to the
U.S. Water News' archives page
Return to the U.S. Water
Use a comma to separate e-mail addresses:
Hi, I thought you might like to read this article.