San Francisco found itself in a sticky situation after the Ninth Circuit struck down a city ordinance that would have required soda companies and other makers of sugar-sweetened beverages to place the following warning on their ads:
WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. This is a message from the City and County of San Francisco.
Advertisers challenged the ordinance under the First Amendment and sought a preliminary injunction to halt its enforcement, but lost in the district court. The Ninth Circuit reversed, agreeing with advertisers that the ordinance unconstitutionally chilled their protected commercial speech because the warning was too one-sided and burdensome – constituting 20% of an ad’s space – and that advertisers were likely to discontinue advertising completely.