Sugar Wars :: Qorvis launches ‘mud slinging campaign’

Yes, I get their point. This is a campaign aimed at scaring the heck out of parents and hook on to the ‘natural’ food movement. OK. I’ll play.

This is PETA style PR. Does any reputable PR practitioner endorse this type of campaign?

QORVIS SAYS SPLENDA IS NOT SO SWEET (Registration required.)

Qorvis Communications, on behalf of the sugar industry, has launched a “public education campaign” to inform consumers that McNeil Nutritionals’ Splenda sweetener is a highly processed compound, rather than a natural product, according to Rich Masters, who heads the account.

He believes MN is misleading consumers by marketing Splenda as sugar without the calories. “We want to tell consumers that sugar cane grows in Louisiana, and sugar beets grow in North Dakota, while Splenda is manufactured in a plant in Alabama,” said Masters. (Source)

“Public education campaign” … oh, I thought it was Ketchum and Armstrong Williams. Hey, at least we know Qorvis is lining their pockets with a Halloween Fright House campaign aimed at Moms. OK … they tried to cover their bases:

Masters emphasized that Qorvis is not saying consumers face any health problems from Splenda. “There have been no studies to gauge the potential health effects of Splenda–one way or the other,” he said.

… and later … “It’s up to parents to decide whether their children should drink chlorine compounds, ” Masters’ is reported to have said. (Source)

Hmm? One word Qorvis: water. Whole lotta’ chlorine there, ya’ know.

Well, this is an effort to regain their market share as people have learned about the ‘sugar refining’ process, perhaps? 😉 They are trying to position (brand) their product as the natural way to go.

OK, Qorvis. How about expaining the ‘sugar whitening process’ to your client’s customers.

This whitening process occurs towards the end of the sugar refining procedure. The filter may be either bone char, granulated carbon, or an ion exchange system. The granular carbon has a wood or coal base, and the ion exchange does not require the use of any animal products (2).
Bones from cows are the only type used to make bone char. According to the Sugar Association and several large sugar producers, all of the cows have died of natural causes and do not come from the U.S. meat industry. Bone char cannot be produced or bought in the United States (3).
Bone char is derived from the bones of cattle from Afghanistan, Argentina, India and Pakistan. The sun-bleached bones are bought by Scottish, Brazilian, and Egyptian marketers, who sell them to the U.S. sugar industry after the bones are first used by the gelatin industry (4). (Source:

See PETA’s scare campaign, too. Yes, there are lots of Danger Will Robinson – Sugar is Deadly campaigns out there. Qorvis is just turning the tables.

Please send out a release right now to the folks in India about how you’re ‘killing cows’ to take their bones and make sugar look purty! I’d love to see that one.

Guess I’m just feeling a bit snarky on this one. Wonder if that Alabama factory is the only factory producing the product.