Red Bull's false ad settlement cost the energy drink company $13 million, according to reports. The class action lawsuit included many customers from the last 10 years, even if they had only purchased just one can of the energy drink.
The Red Bull false ad settlement was started by plaintiff Benjamin Careathers, who believes that the company's slogan "Red Bull gives you wings" is dishonest. Though the slogan clearly doesn't mean that the drink will give you wings, its generally understood that a Red Bull should give a higher energy boost than the average cup of coffee.
However, when Careathers discovered that Red Bull actually has less caffeine than the average cup of coffee, he felt he had grounds for a lawsuit. A judge agreed with him, which led to Red Bull paying out $13 million in the form of merchandise.
"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," the lawsuit stated.
"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," it continued.
Since the lawsuit settlement, anyone who has purchased a Red Bull energy drink since 2002 is entitled to a $10 or $15 Red Bull product with free shipping. However, Red Bull admits no wrongdoing.
"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 said in statement.
Red Bull has agreed to change its marketing tactics nonetheless.