Wiener Wars: Oscar Mayer and Ball Park Franks Fight Like Dogs
Pepsi vs. Coke, Microsoft vs. Apple, Adidas vs. Puma, Ford vs. GM. Now another corporate rivalry threatens to tear apart parent and child, husband and wife, and bored people in online forums across the midwest. On Monday, Oscar Mayer and Ball Park Franks, and their respective parent companies, Kraft Foods Inc. and Sarah Lee Corp, are facing off in a Chicago federal court.
It all started in 2009, when Oscar Mayer published ads stating that its Jumbo Beef Frank beat out Ball Park Franks in a national taste test, according to the Chicago Tribune. A footnote added the more tempered claim that Oscar Mayer's hot dog was simply being compared to the "leading beef hot dogs" of its competitors.
Sara Lee sued, and not just because of the sneaky small type. The hot dog maker also took issue with Oscar Mayer's "100 percent pure beef" tag. There were, after all, other ingredients.
Kraft rebutted that it was only implying that beef was the only meat involved, not that every molecule of their Jumbo Beef Franks was bovine.
Oscar Mayer counter-sued that Sara Lee's ads claimed that their hot dog had won prizes that it hadn't.
"Sara Lee did not possess competent and reliable evidence that the claims were true," Kraft said in its statement.
Now Sara Lee and Kraft are taking their turf battle from the marketplace to the courts, in a carnivorous version of the 1980s Cola Wars. Both companies are seeking unspecified money damages.
"Let the wiener wars begin," announced U.S. Magistrate Judge Morton Denlow at the start of the trial.
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Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.
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