And the World's Worst Product Is...

Last Updated Oct 31, 2007 6:26 PM EDT

sleeping-babe.jpg...sleeping pills advertised to children (although they may look appealing when the kids are all pumped-up on sugar later tonight.)

Consumers International, a global consumer group, accepted submissions from consumer organizations around the world, and formulated an abridged list of bad products based on the following criteria: the size of the company, the scale of sales and marketing, the impact on consumers, and the potential for change by the corporation.

Japanese firm Takeda Pharmaceuticals, which markets the "worst product," sleeping pill Rozerem, ran ads in the US that used images of children, chalk boards, and a school bus. Consumers International said the ad promoted the drug to parents without including health warnings for children. The group commented on the associated dangers:

"This case demonstrates the lengths to which some drug companies will go to increase sales of their products, how direct to consumer advertising can promote irrational drug use, and how weak regulation can foster irresponsible corporate behaviour."
Other companies to win poor social responsibility "awards" include Coca-Cola for marketing tap water (Dasani), Kellogg's for using cartoon characters to make salty and sugary foods even more attractive to kids than they already are, and Mattel for its recent product recall scandal. (Although we were impressed with Mattel's damage control efforts, Consumers International called the incident "a classic case of avoiding accountability and shifting responsibility on a global scale.")

(Sleeping Babe image courtesy of Brianfit, cc 2.0)