Red Bull Winging It?

Have companies made claims that using their product will make you ageless? Flawless? Stronger? How about giving you wings?  Yes, wings.

That’s exactly what the beverage company Red Bull promised its consumers, figuratively speaking. The company even launched cartoon commercials where drinking their beverage “gives you wings,” and their website says, “Wings when you need them.”  According to Law360, Red Bull has agreed to pay more than $13 million to settle a class action lawsuit in a New York federal court that accused Red Bull of falsely advertising their drinks claiming that the consumer would benefit more from a Red Bull rather than just a simple cup of coffee.

Wings when you need them

The Atlantic, in their article, published what Law360 reported:

 “Plaintiff Benjamin Careathers, who has been drinking Red Bull since 2002, filed suit in 2013, saying the company spends millions of dollars misleading customers about the superiority of the “functional beverage” and its ability to “give you wings,” while ignoring reports by The New York Times, the European Food Safety Authority, and scientific journal Nutrition Reviews that found energy drinks like Red Bull to have the same benefit as the average dose of caffeine consumed in coffee.

Red Bull’s ad campaign promised that the drink will increase performance, concentration and reaction speed, allowing the company to charge and get a substantial premium for their products over readily available and much lower priced sources of caffeine that provide the same results, the suit says. The allegedly misleading ads were intended to induce unsuspecting consumers into purchasing, at a premium price, millions of dollars worth of Red Bull energy drinks, according to the complaint.”

According to this lawsuit, the “wings” is a claim that Red Bull will increase performance and concentration. The Red Bull website even features testimonials claiming those benefits.

How it works

This tagline, used by Red Bull for 12 years, exploded on social media in response to the settlement. The agreement entitles any person who purchased Red Bull between Jan 1, 2002 and Oct 3, 2014, are entitled to either $10 cash or $15 worth of Red Bull products, both the LA Times and NBC News reported.

Tweet 1 Tweet 2 Tweet 3

Clearly, most consumers assume the tagline is used figuratively.  A day before the settlement was reached, Red Bull continued to tout their “wings” tagline on Facebook joking about the recent White House security breach.

Facebook post

Red Bull has yet to respond to the settlement agreement.  There is no press release on their website, a tweet or a Facebook post making reference to the lawsuit.  Do you think it’s a good public relations move to stay silent and let the settlement speak for itself?  Should Red Bull speak out or acknowledge it with a funny comeback?

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