Well, that escalated quickly. This week, Red Bull tried to settle a proposed false advertising suit to the tune of $13 million dollars after a disappointed customer complained the drink didn't give them wings (figuratively or literally). If the court approves, it will translate to about $10, or two free Red Bull products, for anybody who purchased Red Bull in the past 12 years. Yes, that's you.
Benjamin Careathers, the plaintiff representing the class action suit, filed the lawsuit in 2013 after 13 years of being a Red Bull consumer. He wasn't expecting to grow literal wings after drinking the beverage, he said, but Red Bull falsely advertised itself by claiming to boost drinkers' performance with increased concentration, productivity, and reflexes. Careathers also called the company's product comparisons into question, claiming there's no scientific evidence to back Red Bull having more caffeine than a standard cup of coffee.
The Austrian company refuses to acknowledge they made any sort of false claim in its advertising, stating it's simply paying the settlement to get the whole thing over with. Its statement:
Red Bull settled the lawsuit to avoid the cost and distraction of litigation. However, Red Bull maintains that its marketing and labeling has always been truthful and accurate, and denies any and all wrongdoing or liability.
Despite its reluctance to admit any wrongdoing, the company did withdraw and edit all of the advertising the suit had mentioned. Nonetheless, it's still using its famous slogan in its social media.
The proposed settlement will be a costly one for Red Bull, and it's not the first massive lawsuit Red Bull has faced. In 2013, a Brooklyn man's family filed an $85 million wrongful death lawsuit two years when he died from a heart attack after downing a Red Bull during a basketball game. While it hasn't yet been decided if Red Bull contributed to his death, I wouldn't recommend chugging one. Ever.
If you're among those who feel wronged by Red Bull (or just need a few bucks), register online here by March 2, 2015 to claim your $10 cash refund. Luckily for those of us who don't save our receipts during that late-night bad choice, proof of purchase isn't required.
Images: Red Bull, Tumblr