In 1987, the Red Bull energy drink company was founded in Austria. The energy drink gained popularity over the years and is now the best selling energy drink in the world.
In 2000, Red Bull released its first advertisement with the slogan: “Red Bull gives you wiiings.” The advertisement was initially released to the Austrian community and was later mass produced and released all around the world.
This commercial was released in the United States in 2002. Following the increased popularity of the commericals, Red Bull reproduced the advertisement and made many more like it; all with the slogan: “Red Bull gives you wiings.”
A man named Benjamin Careathers, along with many other consumers of the Red Bull products joined forces and filed a law suit against Red Bull on January 16th 2013.
The plaintiffs (consumers) claimed that Red Bull’s marketing and advertising was misleading to the public. The claims by Red Bull to “give you wiiings” are false. The consumers also claimed that there were no scientific facts to back up Red Bull’s claims for improved performance, concentration and reaction speed.
The case was handled in the Southern New York District Court. The suit concluded that, “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.”
Red Bull proposed a settlement for $13,000,000 in favor of the consumers. Anyone who has purchased or drank a Red Bull since 2002 is eligible to receive $10 in cash or $15 in Red Bull products. No proof of purchase is necessary.
After settling, Red Bull released this 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.”
From an ethical standpoint, how do you think this case should have been handled or handled at all?
Is Red Bull to blame?
Isn’t society smarter than thinking an energy drink would actually make their body sprout wings?
Was this all for the money? Or were the consumers right in suing Red Bull?