Wed | Nov 20, 2019

'Are you drinking yourself sick?...' Why Wisynco wants court to halt ad campaign

Published:Tuesday | April 24, 2018 | 11:23 AM

Livern Barrett, Senior Gleaner Writer

Lawyers for Wisynco Group, makers of the CranWata beverage,  are heading to court to ask a judge to temporarily halt a public education campaign being run by the Heart Foundation of Jamaica to warn Jamaicans about the harmful health effects of excessive sugar intake.

The campaign, dubbed 'Are You Drinking Yourself Sick' has been airing on local television and various social media platforms.

Wisynco contends in court documents, obtained by The Gleaner, that on March 1 this year, as part of the campaign, the Heart Foundation published false and defamatory information about CranWata on the social media platform Instagram.

As a result, the St Catherine-based company has filed legal action in the Supreme Court seeking a declaration that the information published was defamatory.

It also wants an injunction that would halt further publication.

"The balance of convenience lies in favour of granting the injunction because without an injunction restraining any further publication of defamatory words the claimant (Wisynco) may suffer irremediable harm whereas if the defendant is restrained from publishing defamatory words it will suffer no loss," Wisynco argued in the court documents.

The company, through its general counsel Rachel Zacca, would not confirm that it has filed legal action against the Heart Foundation.

"I will not confirm or deny," Zacca said a short while ago.

According to Wisynco, the Instagram post makes an inaccurate claim about the volume of sugar in each bottle of CranWata then asks: "Are you drinking yourself sick? Drink water instead."

The post has since been removed.

The company sought to explain that because the aim of the campaign is to get members of the public to consume less sugar-sweetened beverages, the "false" information is defamatory because it suggests that drinking Wisynco's products, specifically  CranWata, will make them sick.

"The said words were calculated to disparage CranWata and Wisynco in its business. In consequence, CranWata's and Wisynco's reputation have been seriously damaged and the principals of Wisynco have suffered considerable distress, anxiety and embarrassment," the company asserted.

It is not clear when the application for the injunction will be heard.

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