Red Bull Settles $13 Million Lawsuit Over False Advertising

Red Bull is settling a lawsuit over the fact that it apparently does not, in fact, turn you into a winged avian-human hybrid and/or a member of the X-Men.

The suit centers around Red Bull’s excessive and inaccurate claims of effectiveness in terms of actually giving people energy, and winds up being a $13 million class action settlement. The class action could cover millions of customers (possibly anyone who has purchased a can in the last ten years), and would offer eligible recipients either a $10 refund or a $15 Red Bull product purchase (for which Red Bull will pay the shipping costs). The other aspect of the settlement is that Red Bull gets to publicly state they did nothing wrong, even as they’re paying money to people for doing something wrong.* Ahhhh, the American litigation system.

It’s actually unfair to say this lawsuit is about the “Red Bull gives you wings” claim, because it’s actually quite a bit more cunning than that. Instead, it centers around the fact that Red Bull markets itself as a making its victims** feel more energetic than does coffee…despite the fact that an 8 oz can of Red Bull (84 milligrams) has roughly half the caffeine content of a 7 oz cup of drip coffee (115 to 175 milligrams). It’s ultimately no wonder Red Bull settled, because a case can very effectively be made that Red Bull engaged in some pretty blatant false advertising. You can’t really accuse the primary plaintiff, Benjamin Careathers, of base greed here, either; he specifically sought out a class action, seemingly just to poke Red Bull in the eye and give a justified $10 to anyone who’s ever had the misfortune to drink that carbonated acidic horse piss.

Ultimately, I wish more companies would get sued in class actions like these on the basis of false advertising; maybe it would stem the tide of sleight-of-hand bullshit and often outright lying which seems to be par for the course.

* Despite this, the plaintiff’s motion points out that the company has already revised or withdrawn marketing claims based on previous criticism and legal action regarding false advertising. Red Bull knows full well that they’re full of shit.

** Don’t ask me to refer to anyone who drinks Red Bull as anything other than a victim.

Image via Twin Design/Shutterstock.

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