DOWNERS GROVE, ILL. — Sara Lee Corp. is filing a lawsuit on behalf of its Ball Park brand alleging Kraft Oscar Mayer hot dogs are being falsely advertised in violation of federal and state laws. The lawsuit specifically refers to advertisements saying the Oscar Mayer Jumbo Beef Franks beat Ball Park franks in a taste test.
"The suit claims Oscar Mayer is presenting a taste superiority claim against the entire line of Ball Park branded hot dogs — this is both false and misleading to consumers," Sara Lee said. "Such claims contain an unclear and inconspicuous footnote in very small type that also falsely implies that more than one variety of Ball Park franks was tested."
Sara Lee cited data from Information Resources, Inc. that showed the Ball Park brand has experienced double-digit growth while the Oscar Mayer brand has declined slightly.
"This is a weak attempt by Oscar Mayer to mislead millions of consumers with false and inaccurate claims," said Chuck Hemmingway, brand director. "Simply put, we believe that these untrue statements are all a bunch of bologna."
Kraft said it has not yet received the lawsuit, but the company did offer comment.
"Clearly, Ball Park does wish it was an Oscar Mayer wiener, since we are America's favorite hot dog brand," said Syd Lindner, associate director of Corporate Affairs at Kraft. "In fact, we sell more hot dogs than any other brand. We stand by our reputation for accurate advertising to our consumers.