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Red Bull doesn't give you wings? A lesson in false advertising

If you ask the average consumer what they know about Red Bull energy drink, they would probably respond that "it gives you wings!" This catchphrase has catapulted Red Bull into elite company when it comes to the soft drink industry, and has spawned a cult following of its unique commercials.

However, the drink won't cause you to sprout wings and fly. And the average consumer probably understands that. Nevertheless, a group of people still sued the drink maker, claiming that it falsely advertised that the beverage would increase a person's performance, concentration and reaction time. Essentially, the plaintiffs claimed that Red Bull did not have any scientific evidence to support its claims, and because of their "persistent and pervasive" marketing of the purported benefits, their actions became actionable for a class action lawsuit. 

Companies are prohibited from using language, sayings or slogans that are false or misleading in to promote their products. Consumers have the right (and the benefit) of know what they are purchasing, and must have the trust that what they are told about the product is true. If a company is found to have falsely described what a product can do, the company could be held liable.

Red Bull plans to settle the suit, reportedly to avoid the "cost and distraction" of litigation. According to a consumerist.com article, the company plans to spend nearly $13 million to resolve the matter. This will include a $6.5 million payment, as well as other class members receiving a $10 cash reimbursement or a voucher for two free Red Bull products. 

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