Marketing

Jessica Alba’s Honest Company hit by $5 million lawsuit claiming dishonesty

Broede Carmody /

 

Jessica Alba’s successful lifestyle business has come under fire for allegedly misleading consumers.

In a class-action lawsuit filed against The Honest Company in California, a US consumer claims the business describes its products as “natural” despite using synthetic preservatives.

The lawsuit accuses The Honest Company of mislabelling its soap, nappy and cleaning products and is seeking up to $5 million in damages.

The company is also faces claims its sunscreen is ineffective, according to The Wrap.

The actress turned entrepreneur has been forced to deny the allegations.

In a statement issued to SmartCompany, Alba said the claims against The Honest Company are “baseless and without merit”.

“We strongly stand behind our products and the responsibility we have to our consumers,” Alba said.

“We are steadfast in our commitment to transparency and openness. I know my children, Honor and Haven, are growing up in a safer home because of our products. ”

The Honest Company launched in 2012 with 17 products and has since grown to offer 120 baby and personal care products stocked in US retailers such as Target and Costco.

Last month The Honest Company raised $US100 million ($144 million) to prepare for a global expansion and to boost its online and wholesale distribution services.

Advertising expert and founder of Marketing Angels, Michelle Gamble, told SmartCompany Australian businesses must be very careful when promoting the potential health benefits of products.

“There’s a lot of smoke and mirrors in the way companies market their products,” Gamble says.

“They’ll say something is healthy and low-fat when it’s actually not. Businesses need to be very cautious about the integrity of their products and how they market them to consumers.”

Gamble says instead of using vague terms such as “healthy” or “low-fat”, businesses could be doing more to tell their story.

In some instances, it’s as simple as highlighting certain ingredients.

“There are other ways to imply something has some very powerful ingredients that are good for you,” Gamble says.

“You don’t have to use greenwashing tactics to get people to buy [your products].”

SmartCompany contacted The Honest Company but did not respond prior to publication.

 

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Broede Carmody

Broede Carmody is a former senior SmartCompany reporter. Before this, he was a co-editor of RMIT University's student magazine Catalyst.

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