Red Bull Will Pay $13 Million To Settle False Advertising Lawsuit
(consumerist.com) Because you can’t believe every cartoon that says drinking a can of energy drink will cause you to suddenly sprout wings and float into the sky, Red Bull has agreed to pay more than $13 million to settle a lawsuit that was seeking class-action status to settle claims of false advertising.
According to BevNET, Red Bull could be handing over the first payment of $6.5 million in a matter of a week if the proposed settlement is approved by a court.
It’d cover millions of people who bought at least one can of Red Bull in the past 10 years, with members of the suit each getting a $10 cash reimbursement or two free Red Bull products.
While the plaintiffs didn’t actually believe they’d be growing wings and fluttering above everyone else, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit claimed that he’d been drinking Red Bull since 2002, and accused the company of misleading consumers about how superior it is with the slogan “Red Bull gives you wings.”
He alleges that Red Bull’s claims of increased performance, concentration and reaction speed are false, among others. That idea is repeated throughout Red Bull’s marketing campaigns in print, TV and the Internet, as well as athlete endorsements and its Red Bull Flugtag series, the suit claims.
“Such deceptive conduct and practices mean that [Red Bull’s] advertising and marketing is not just ‘puffery,’ but is instead deceptive and fraudulent and is therefore actionable,” the suit says.
But Red Bull gives that boost through caffeine alone, the plaintiffs claim, citing articles by the New York Times and others, and not with ingredients like guarana.
“Even though there is a lack of genuine scientific support for a claim that Red Bull branded energy drinks provide any more benefit to a consumer than a cup of coffee, the Red Bull defendants persistently and pervasively market their product as a superior source of ‘energy’ worthy of a premium price over a cup of coffee or other sources of caffeine,” the suit says.
In response to the settlement news, the brand said in a statement:
“Red Bull settled the lawsuit to avoid the cost and distraction of litigation. However, Red Bull maintains that its marketing and labeling have always been truthful and accurate, and denies any and all wrongdoing or liability.”
The company has agreed to withdraw and change its marketing claims as a result as well, despite denying any wrongdoing.