James Macungie recently filed a lawsuit against Google. Mr. Macungie alleges that their contextual ad, promising one weird old tip to lose belly fat, did not work as advertised. The tip, according to documents filed in the Norther District of South Dakota, was to drink two glasses of water before every meal.
After years of having what doctors called “an offensive percentage of body fat,” Mr. Macungie was browsing the Internet one night looking for exercise advice. He stumbled onto a blog that used contextual ads sponsored by the search giant. The ad, pictured to the right, promised that those who clicked could lose a bit of their belly every day by following one weird old tip.
Mr. Macungie claims that he followed the tip religiously. He drank sixteen ounces of water before every meal, six meals a day, seven days a week. Attached to the complaint are numerous affidavits supporting his claim. “It’s true. He would get two glasses of water every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Those are the days he normally comes in,” according to Leslie Stevens, owner of the Chipotle across the street from Mr. Macungie’s home. Ms. Stevens seems as perplexed as Mr. Macungie was. In her affidavit she explains that “…[h]e didn’t stray from his normal eating habits. Two burritos, extra guac, extra sour cream, double nachos. But he never seemed to lose any weight. None of us here understand.”
Norma Macungie, the plaintiff’s wife, told Bitter Lawyer that she can’t believe Google would allow such a misleading ad to run rampant on the Internet. “It’s such a shame,” Mrs. Macungie explained as we sat together at Dairy Queen. “Jimmy really thought this would be the thing that worked for him. But he just put on another twenty pounds in the last two months.” According to the complaint, doctors believe Mr. Macungie will need a gastric bypass immediately. Mr. Macungie believes Google should pay for the surgery.
Google has not officially responded. But a member of their legal team assured Bitter Lawyer that they have plenty of evidence that the ad did not cause the plaintiff’s obesity. Like everyone else in America, Mr. Macungie is under constant surveillance from Google. They plan to use Google Earth and the tracker in Macungie’s cell phone to show that he averaged six trips to Chipotle a week, and over fifteen trips to Dairy Queen a day.
(photo courtesy of the Internet)