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Red Bull Denies Misleading the Public

We have all seen it time and again; product marketing makes use of exaggeration to promote their products by using catchy taglines that may not be precisely factual. They say “the best in Somewhereville” or “once you pop you can’t stop” and similar claims, and in general the consumers know that it is all just talk. There is actually a term for this: puffery. No one really takes it seriously, and in most cases it is caveat emptor or buyers beware. In other words, use your common sense.

However, there are exceptions to this tolerance. Red Bull GmbH caught the raw end of the deal when it was accused of false advertising with the slogan “Red Bull gives you wings” for its popular energy drink. The lawsuit, initially filed by one Benjamin Careathers and later certified for class action, claimed that the company did not live up to its promise to consumers because despite long-term consumption, he has never actually sprouted wings or gained any appreciable improvement in physical or intellectual performance as insinuated in their advertisements.

At first glance it seemed like a frivolous lawsuit, but apparently there was a legal basis for the claim because it went forward in the litigation process. To avoid the costs of what could prove to be an extended legal battle, the Austrian-based company chose to offer a settlement to those who joined the lawsuit by offering compensation between $10 and $15 to claimants in the US. However, the company still maintains that they did not mislead the public and that they were truthful and accurate in their promotion of the energy drink.