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February 19, 2013 / Steven Soliman

Red Bull Sued For Alleged Deceptive Marketing

Red Bull, the popular energy drink, is being sued for its use of deceptive marketing which is allegedly used to charge a premium for a product that is no more effective than much cheaper alternatives. The company, whose slogan is “Red Bull gives you wings,” is accused of containing no more energy than a cup of coffee or a caffeine pill.

Specifically, the complaint alleges that an 8.4-ounce can of Red Bull, which costs around $2.19, only contains 80 milligrams of caffeine, while a tablet of NoDoz only costs about 30 cents but contains 100 milligrams of caffeine. Reports in the scientific journal Nutrition Reviews and in The New York Times are cited as evidence to support the claims made in the complaint. The New York Times report was published on January 1, 2013, and explained:

Promoting a message beyond caffeine has enabled the beverage makers to charge premium prices. A 16-ounce energy drink that sells for $2.99 a can contains about the same amount of coffee as a tablet of NoDox that costs 30 cents.  Even Starbucks coffee is cheap by comparison; a 12-ounce cup that costs $1.85 has even more caffeine.

As with earlier elixirs, a dearth of evidence underlies such claims. Only a few human studies of energy drinks or the ingredients in them have been performed and they point to a similar conclusion, researchers say – that the beverages are mainly about caffeine.

The Plaintiff, Benjamin Careathers of the Bronx, New York, claims to have been drinking Red Bull since 2002. The suit was filed in January, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The Plaintiff is seeking an injunction which would require the energy drink company to stop advertising that the drink can provide benefits, while also seeking to correct “any erroneous impression consumers may have derived concerning the nature, characteristics, or qualities of Red Bull.”

If you or anyone you know has been the victim of false advertising or deceptive marketing, please contact Khorrami, LLP for more information.


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