Is There Legal Risk in Using Claims to Be the Best in Town?
1. Laudatory termsSlogans like "the best pizza in town" or "the fastest service in town" or "the top realtor in the state" are all considered forms of puffery known as laudatory phrases. These are frequent advertising slogans that most consumers recognize as just hype not to be believed. Usually they are harmless, but they can backfire if you are publicly debunked as not being what you claim, particularly if the local news media aggressively ridicules your claims as being false. Also, they cannot be exclusively claimed by you unless they are tied to some objective factual criteria. For example if you instead claim "best pizza in St. Louis for 2010 as rated by St. Louis magazine" that probably is an exclusive claim since there is likely only one pizza place rated number one by that magazine. However if you are consistently rated 50th in all local media, one of the top pizza places is likely to debunk you with advertisement pointing that out. In that event your advertising might very well backfire
2. Counter advertisingComparative advertising is a hallmark of American marketing. When you claim to be the best, your competition is likely to point out that you are not if a multitude of surveys all consistently rate them the best rather than you.
3. Protectability or Lack of ProtectionAdvertising puffery is not protectable as a trademark or service mark because it does not identify a single source of goods since know one typically believes it is true of only one source. When you say quote "the best restaurant in town" your competitor across the street can likewise also claim to be "the best restaurant in town" at the 12 blocks down can claim to be "best restaurant in town". You cannot protect that phrase because everyone can use it. These terms are not like a trademark such as Google, Microsoft, Sony, Chevrolet, Coke or GE, which only refer to a single business.