Ads are often subjective. We’re used to hearing that one product or service is the best, the fastest, the cheapest, etc. But Zales is up against a lawsuit where those claims may be put to the test:
A federal judge in Ohio will weigh in Monday on a legal tussle with ramifications for the diamond world: whether the Zales jewelry chain should be allowed to advertise that its rocks are the brightest.
Sterling Jewelers Inc., a unit of Signet Jewelers Ltd., SIG +1.74% which also owns the Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria of Jewelry chains, has filed a lawsuit accusing Zale Corp. ZLC -2.63% of false advertising for claiming its Celebration Fire stones are the “most brilliant diamonds in the world.”
Sterling, based in Akron, Ohio, wants to force Zale to scrap a multimillion-dollar ad campaign as it heads into one of the busiest sales week of the year; on Monday, the judge will consider Sterling’s request for a preliminary injunction. The company also is seeking millions of dollars in damages from Zale, which is based in Irving, Texas.
The Federal Trade Commission allows advertising that makes subjective claims, according to an agency spokeswoman. But a spokesman for Signet, David Bouffard, said the brilliance of a diamond can be “systematically, reliably and scientifically measured” and shouldn’t fall under those protections.