“Red Bull gives you wings” – Consumers Claim False
A lot of us have heard the Red Bull company advertising slogan, “it gives you wings,” which surrounds a media campaign based in extreme sports like mountain biking, BMX, motocross, windsurfing, base-jumping, snowboarding, skateboarding, wakeboarding, surfing, skating, and Formula 1 racing among others. As it turns out, Red Bull will not give you wings. But, Red Bull will give anyone who purchased a can of Red Bull over the past 10 years either a check for $10 or a voucher for $15 worth of Red Bull products due to a recently settled Class Action law suit brought against Red Bull.
The case, Benjamin Careathers v. Red Bull North America Inc., Case No. 1:13-cv-00369, and Wolf, et al. v. Red Bull GmbH el al., Case No. 1:13-cv-08008, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York reached a $13 million settlement for these two class action lawsuits.
The lawsuits allege that Red Bull North America Inc., misrepresents the ability of its Red Bull energy drinks. Benjamin Careathers, a plaintiff, believes Red Bull slogan, “Red Bull gives you wings,” is dishonest. Claimants in the lawsuit disagreed with Red Bull’s advertising campaign, “Red Bull gives you wings,” and that the energy drink “vitalizes body and mind.” In fact, the plaintiffs allege that Red Bull is no more effective than a cup of coffee or other caffeine supplements. According to BBC Newsbeat reporter, Emma Brant, “[Benjamin Careathers] argued the slogan clearly doesn’t mean the drink will give you wings but it is generally understood the drink should give a higher energy boost than an average cup of coffee.” On Red Bull’s website it states that one 250 ml (8.4 oz) can of Red Bull Energy Drink contains 80 mg of caffeine. On the other hand, according to the USDA, a typical 8 oz. cup of coffee contains 95 mg of caffeine.
The plaintiffs challenged the scientific studies posted on the Red Bull web site that, so Red Bull says, demonstrated the advantages that Red Bull energy drinks provides over the less expensive products that only contained caffeine.
According to the BBC Newsbeat, a judge agreed with Careathers, “Such deceptive conduct and practices mean that [Red Bull’s] advertising and marketing is not just ‘puffery,’ but it instead deceptive and fraudulent and it therefore actionable… Even though there is a lack of genuine scientific support 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’ worth of a premium price over a cup of coffee or other sources of caffeine. “
The Red Bull class action lawsuits made claims for breach of express warranty, unjust enrichment and other violations of several states’ consumer protection statues.
Red Bull Response
According to BevNet, Red Bull emailed the following statement in response to the settlement, “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. If you are a qualified settlement class member and submit a claim form, then you can claim a refund by registering online.