Without further ado, here are the winners of the worst products for 2007:
At number 4 is:
Coca-Cola - for continuing the international marketing "into the realms of the ridiculous" in the United States and South America for its bottled water Dasani despite admitting it comes from the same sources as local tap water.
Even though it's quite popular in the US , Dasani was laughed off the shelves in Europe (picky, picky) because it contains ordinary tap water.
Consumers International commented: "Sustainable access to essential services, such as water, is a basic consumer right. By bottling up this universal resource to sell back to us, corporations, such as Coca-Cola have created a US$100 billion industry at a time when one billion people in the world lack access to safe drinking water. Making profits out of increasingly fragile water supplies is unsustainable, irresponsible and against the basic rights of consumers everywhere."
Good luck paying up to $3.00 a bottle of tap water at special events where Coca-Cola products are sold.
At number 3 comes:
Kellogg's - best known for its cereals, for the worldwide use of cartoon-type characters and product tie-ins aimed at children, despite high levels of sugar and salt in their food products.
"Kellogg's are one of a number of international food companies that make money by selling products high in fat, sugar and/or salt," Consumers International said. "Threatened with litigation in the US, Kellogg's have agreed to change some of their marketing practices, however we believe they are doing too little, too late."
Talking about advertising junk food to kids by the use of cartoon-type characters! What? You mean huge bowls of fat, sugar and salt aren't healthy?
Consumers International indicated: "CI is committed to stopping the marketing of junk food to children. Together with our membership we are campaigning for international restrictions on marketing to under 16's, to give our children the chance of a healthy start."
At number 2 came:
Mattel - for stonewalling US congressional investigations and avoiding overall responsibility for the global recall of 21 million products made in China because of high lead levels.
The US toymaker first blamed China, then apologized to China, saying the vast majority of recalls were due to design flaws and had nothing to do with where the toys were manufactured. Are these design flaws killing children?
"This is a classic case of avoiding accountability and shifting responsibility on a global scale," Consumers International said. "Wherever the fault lies, the safety of consumers was compromised and this should be the full focus of Mattel's attention, not finger pointing and not blame dodging."
And at number 1, the overall prize is going to:
The US subsidiary of Japanese firm Takeda Pharmaceuticals - for taking advantage of poor US regulation and advertising sleeping pills to children, despite health warnings about pediatric use.
The company ran a television advertisement in the United States which used images of children, chalk boards and a school bus to sell its drug Rozerem. The commercial said: "Rozerem would like to remind you that it's back to school season. Ask your doctor today if Rozerem is right for you."
According to Consumers International, Rozarum hasn't been approved for use by children.
The "back-to-school" advertisements, which complied with US law, promoted the sleeping pills to parents without including health warnings for children, Consumers International said.
"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 behavior," the group said.
Richard Lloyd, Director General of Consumers International, pointed out: "These multi-billion dollar companies are global brands with a responsibility to be honest, accountable and responsible. In highlighting their short-comings Consumers International and its 220 member organizations are holding corporations to account and demanding businesses take social responsibility seriously."
*Full details of each nomination can be found in the accompanying CI Press briefing, which can be downloaded here.