So Red Bull can’t really give you wings? I did wonder why mine hadn’t started to grow yet…….
No really – that’s what some people must think as the energy drinks brand is no longer able to use the strapline in the US and has been ordered to pay a settlement of $13 million for misleading advertising. This followed two lawsuits in North America which claimed that the company’s marketing ‘misrepresented the functionality and safety of Red Bull beverages.’
To compensate any purchasers of the drink who were disappointed that they hadn’t grown actual wings, anyone in the US who bought Red Bull between the beginning of January 2002 and October 2013 can claim either $10 or two Red Bull products with a value of about $15.
Now I don’t think Red Bull has done too badly out of these lawsuits from a PR perspective as I’m sure that the vast majority of the population didn’t really expect to sprout a pair of wings after a couple of sips. However, it does beg the question, do advertisers have a responsibility to the minority who might take their claims quite literally? I don’t think so and if that was the case where would it all end? Would Lynx be forced to end its campaign suggesting that if you use its deodorant you’ll attract hoards of beautiful women? Would Skittles be forced to drop its strapline ‘taste the rainbow’ because its sweets don’t actually taste of rainbow? Let’s hope not or the world of advertising could become a very dull place indeed.
Fiona Whyatt has worked in B2B PR for many years. She loves blogging!