Instagram feud between JSHealth and Life Botanics heading to Federal Court
Vitamin company JSHealth claims it has entered court proceedings against Australian Health Vitality, the owner of retail competitor Life Botanics. The litigation came to light due to social media posts from both companies.
There has been simmering bad blood between JSHealth and Life Botanics since early 2022 after the latter brand began using comparative advertising between its products and JSHealth’s on social media.
This involved using JSHealth’s name in its social marketing, particularly in regards to its price compared to Life Botanics’ products. Some posts also mention of ‘brand tax’ in relation to JSHealth products and media events.
JSHealth has responded to some of this marketing in the past.
It’s unclear exactly what motivated JSHealth to begin legal proceedings against Life Botanics. However, Life Botanics’ comparative marketing has continued in 2023, with a recent video on February 10 calling out JShealth on its Greens + Collagen product.
JSHealth announces legal proceedings, Life Botanics confirms it
JSHealth founder, Jessica Sepel, took to the company’s Instagram on Sunday to announce the legal proceedings.
“For 12 months our brand JSHealth has been subjected to false claims and harassment by a person in this industry. He has disparaged our products and ridiculed our brand by spreading misleading and deceptive claims in seeking to draw attention to his own brand,” the post read.
“As a female founder with a predominantly female team and community, we take this very seriously. For 12 months we have tried to stay silent and maintain our dignity. But the time has come to stand up for what is right. Not just for us, but for anyone else in any industry fighting to protect what they’ve built.
“We are choosing to take action against these unprovoked attacks on our business and on me personally, which are causing us harm in the eyes of the public.
“Legal action has now been instituted in the Federal Court of Australia so that we and any others attacked in the same way, can feel empowered, rather than helpless.”
The posts went onto address the recall of three almond and oat milk products last week released by JSHealth in collaboration with Inside Out.
While JSHealth didn’t name the company, Life Botanics confirmed its involvement in the proceedings in its own spate of Instagram story posts. It also confirmed this on a call with SmartCompany.
“We understand how upset JS Health [sic] must be at the thought that another business could threaten a massive empire of supplements marketed by a PR machine, exposing the truth of the real cost behind these magic supplements,” Life Botanics said.
The post also accuses JSHealth of asking community members to troll Life Botanics and sending legal letters to retailers as well as monthly legal letters to Life Botanics.
Another Instagram story post from Life Botanics includes one of JSHealth’s statements, with commentary.
“Pretty obvious your formulation of stress and anxiety doesn’t work as well as ours… can’t wait to see you in court, we’ve got a stack of stuff ready for you guys!!! Can’t hide behind your social media account and PR Team now… it’s gonna be public!!! Everyone get your popcorn🍿 ready!!”
Life Botanics declined to share any of the evidence alleged in its social media posts with SmartCompany due to them being part of the upcoming court proceedings. SmartCompany understands that legal action was filed with the Federal Court on Friday. At the time of writing, it was yet to appear on the Federal Court’s website.
While on a call with SmartCompany, Life Botanic’s founder Jimmy Seervai received an email from his legal council containing the application and statement of claim from JSHealth.
On the call, Seervai stated that comparative marketing is legal and that having competitor products is beneficial for the market.
“It’s a little word called competition, which I don’t think they’re used to and it’s really upsetting for them,” Seervai said to SmartCompany.
The story was originally published on Smart Comapany.