When Procter & Gamble put the squeeze on a start-up toothpaste firm, the company's founder was all smiles.
“Thanks P&G,” said Craig Dubitsky. “They’re accelerating and amplifying our marketing efforts.”
Dubitsky uttered those words after P&G won a legal fight with Hello Products LLC to stop sales of its toothpaste.
For nearly a year, P&G has been arguing that Hello’s labels saying the toothpaste was “99% Natural” were false and misleading. In April, P&G complained that the Hello label was false and misleading because ingredients in Hello’s toothpaste like sodium lauryl sulfate and sorbitol are chemically processed, according to court documents. In June Hello agreed to strip the claim from its next batch of printing. But in January, P&G forced the issue with a lawsuit and the two sides agreed to an injunction to stop selling any toothpaste with that label, starting March 25.
So today, four days before the order goes into effect, Hello plans to hand out its remaining stock of around 100,000 bottles of that toothpaste on the streets of Manhattan. Dubitsky said the company has already been handing out freebies at the Sundance Film Festival and South by Southwest and had more events planned over the coming weeks. The injunction sped up the timeline into a big sampling event today.