How to differentiate your brand in the Wild West of our nation's exploding CBD market? Patriot Supreme plays to the troops.
The Mesa-based firm's website is chockablock with American flags, large guns, and marketing copy that emphasizes the usefulness of its CBD gummies, oils, and capsules for veterans and members of the armed services.
The company is "owned and operated by Justin Elenburg, a disabled Air Force veteran," the site says.
Patriot Supreme advertisements found elsewhere online, though, have implied the company has a different owner: Clint Eastwood.
In late July, the Hollywood icon sued Patriot Supreme and a handful of other CBD companies in federal court in Los Angeles, alleging they were using his name to sell their products as part of an "online scam that uses a false, defamatory, and wholly fabricated 'news article' about ... Eastwood."
The ads in question contain the headline "Big Pharma In Outrage Over Clint Eastwood’s CBD: Patriot Supreme CBD - He Fires Back With This!” (Other examples cited in the suit use the same language but swap in different CBD companies' names.) Beneath the headline is a story that states, among other things:
"We all know and love Clint Eastwood as the charismatic actor and director who has never been shy about advocating for marijuana use. He has always been focused on making movies, going on tour, and promoting America. However, he shocked everyone when he announced his new CBD line, Patriot Supreme CBD, would be the next step in his career."
As the lawsuit notes, the phony ad features "photographs of Mr. Eastwood and references a fabricated interview with Mr. Eastwood in which he touts his purported line of CBD products. In truth, Mr. Eastwood has no connection of any kind whatsoever to any CBD products and never gave such an interview." The ads were also sent out over email, accompanied by photos of Eastwood appearing on NBC's Today Show, suggesting he was touting the CBD products on the program.
Eastwood's attorneys did not respond to a request for comment.
One of the defendants in the case, Sera Labs, told Deadline that “Sera Labs worked for a limited time with a publisher and gave them specific advertisements they could use which follow our very strict guidelines. The company shut down the ads immediately after learning that they used Eastwood’s name and likeness."
Elenburg, who operates Patriot Supreme under an LLC called For Our Vets, did not respond to multiple requests for comment. He incorporated the company in 2019, state records show.
Elenburg is not inexperienced in the world of internet marketing. In this instructional YouTube video, he explains to viewers the secrets to creating "winning campaigns" through "mobile marketing." In a separate interview about an ATV race team he founded called Chapo Racing, Elenburg calls himself a "serial entrepreneur" who also owns a mobile lead generation company and a vitamin supplement company.
The judge in the case has granted Eastwood's request for a temporary restraining order, halting Patriot Supreme and another CBD firm, Euphoric, from using Eastwood’s name or likeness to sell CBD products and continuing to disseminate "false and defamatory statements that Mr. Eastwood is in the business of manufacturing, distributing, or selling CBD products."
Patriot Supreme was served with the injunction on August 20 but has not filed an answer.
Eastwood is seeking "actual and compensatory damages in the millions," and punitive damages "in an amount sufficient to deter unlawful conduct by Defendants in the future," the complaint states.
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