Lawsuit Claims Red Bull Uses Deceptive Marketing

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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A class action lawsuit filed in a New York District Court is alleging that Red Bull, which claims to offer a more substantial caffeine boost than similar beverages, is in reality, no more effective than a cup of coffee. 

The suit, filed by Lead Plaintiff Benjamin Careathers, attempts to prove that Red Bull uses deceptive marketing tactics, allowing it to charge more for their energy drinks based on false claims. 

“Defendants are able to charge and get a substantial premium for their products over readily available and much lower priced sources of caffeine that provide the same or substantially similar results,” the lawsuit states, according to Reuters

One can of Red Bull, which weighs in at 8.4 ounces and generally costs more than two dollars, contains 80 milligrams of caffeine; whereas a 12-ounce cup of coffee will usually cost no more than $1.50 and according to the lawsuit, contains much more caffeine than Red Bull. As another example, one dose of the popular caffeine pill NoDoz contains 100 mg of caffeine and only costs around thirty cents. 

Investigations into the effectiveness, and even dangers, of energy drinks in recent years has led some to believe that makers of products like Red Bull and Monster are giving consumers a false impression. The company’s website makes some far-reaching claims including that: “Numerous scientific studies on the product and the individual ingredients prove that Red Bull Energy Drink: Increases performance; Increases concentration and reaction speed; Improves vigilance; Stimulates metabolism; Makes you feel more energetic and thus improves your overall wellbeing.”

Meanwhile, an article published in The New York Times titled, “Scientists See Dangers in Energy Drinks,” (among numerous other reports) illuminates concerns of scientists regarding not only the effectiveness, but the safety of energy drinks.

As part of the lawsuit, prosecutors are asking for an injunction order to force Red Bull to halt advertising that deceptively insinuates the drink is superior in nature to other energy sources on the market, and requiring the company to compensate plaintiffs for the cost of Red Bulls they have previously purchased. While previous lawsuits have been filed against other energy drinks over associated health risks, this is the first to attack marketing practices, which gives it the potential to not only remedy isolated cases but to address the bigger issue of how these companies may be deceiving millions of consumers into believing Red Bull will “give them wings,” so to speak.  

To read more about deceptive business practices, click into Unfair Trade Practices.  To learn more about how class action lawsuits work, read What Is a Class Action Lawsuit?

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