Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Boston claiming the company is the victim of a deceitful campaign by rival Decas Cranberry Products Inc. Ocean Spray, the largest cranberry manufacturer, says it generated $2 billion in sales in 2009. At the heart of the suit are allegations involving a website, www.scamberry.org, and various social media tools that Ocean Spray contends are part of a surreptitious smear campaign orchestrated by Decas to hurt Ocean Spray’s business relationships and dealings. Both companies are based in Massachusetts.
The “Scamberry” campaign contends that Ocean Spray is harming the cranberry industry by using fewer berries to make its “Choice” sweetened dried cranberry product, which the company introduced in March 2009 as a lower-cost alternative to its other offerings in the same category. Ocean Spray claims the “Scamberry” concept first emerged in June when Decas hired Boston-based InkHouse Media + Marketing to develop a “false and misleading social media campaign.” Ocean Spray alleges that hiring InkHouse to launch a “Scamberry” website was a ploy by Decas to hide its role in the campaign.
After InkHouse said it would stop doing work for Decas, Ocean Spray claims, Decas announced that it had launched a new “Scamberry” site on July 22nd. Ocean Spray claims that Decas purposely hid its involvement in related online activities, including the creation of a fictitious Facebook identity to publish “Scamberry” information under the guise of consumer advocacy, according to the Complaint.
The suit is the second in nearly two years between the two companies. In 2008 Ocean Spray filed a patent infringement suit against Decas. Decas responded by countersuing. Those actions are pending. Decas denies that it has done anything wrong and says that Ocean Spray is simply trying to get rid of competition.
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