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Home Misleading Social Media Messages Misinterpret Red Bull ‘Gives You Wings’ Class Action

Social Media Messages Misinterpret Red Bull ‘Gives You Wings’ Class Action

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Circulating social media messages – and some news headlines – suggest that Red Bull has been sued because consumers of the drink did not actually grow wings as per the company’s slogan.

Brief Analysis

Drinks company Red Bull has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit that accused it of false advertising. However, the plaintiff sued because, via the ‘Red Bull Gives You Wings’ slogan and other promotional material, the company claimed that people who drank the product would enjoy enhanced energy and performance. The lawsuit argues that these claims were false and misleading. The plaintiff did NOT sue because he thought he would physically grow wings.

Examples

This guy sued Red Bull because he didn’t grow wings. Wow #stupid.

 

Turns out Red Bull does not REALLY give you wings…so somebody sued.

 

Detailed Analysis

Social media is all abuzz over news that energy drinks company Red Bull has been sued in relation to its iconic ‘Red Bull Gives You Wings’ slogan.

Many of the circulating messages suggest that the lawsuit was brought because the person who sued did not actually grow wings after consuming the product.  This belief is seemingly backed up by the wording of several mainstream news report headlines on the issue.

A lot of commentators have thus suggested that the plaintiff must have been stupid to believe such a thing in the first place and that the lawsuit was frivolous. Some have suggested that the story might be a hoax.

But, in fact, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Red Bull in January 2013 in relation to its advertisements. However, the suit was not brought because the plaintiff believed he would physically grow wings after drinking the product.

Benjamin Carethers, the plaintiff who took the class action, argued via the suit that the ‘Red Bull gives you wings’ slogan and other company promotional material misled consumers into believing that the drink increases performance, energy levels and concentration.

Caruthers argued that there was no genuine scientific support for a claim that Red Bull provided any more ‘energy’ than a regular cup of coffee. Therefore, he argues, the company’s slogan and advertising are deceptive. Red Bull has agreed to pay over $13 million to settle the case, although it has not admitted any wrongdoing.

In an email statement to BevNet, it noted:

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.

Unfortunately, the wrongful idea that Red Bull was sued because people did not actually grow wings is turning the case into something of an Internet joke. And some sectors of the mainstream media have certainly not helped by the propensity to never let a great headline go by, even if it is apt to mislead.

The suit raises issues that should be sensibly addressed.

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer