Man Sued Red Bull Because The Drink Doesn’t Actually Give Wings

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A class action suit from 2013 worth $13 million against the Red Bull energy drink has suddenly gone viral. The complaint was brought against the energy drink company by a New York resident named Benjamin Careathers, who, after more than a decade of enjoying the product, declared that the slogan “Red Bull Gives You Wings” was false advertising.

$13 Million Dollar Marketing Mistake

While all the news leads one to believe that the lawsuit against the Austria-based company was filed because Careathers was tired of waking up every day and not finding a new shiny set of wings attached to his back, this isn’t exactly the case.

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The Red Bull lawsuit is based more on reality than it appears on the surface. Rather than being irritated that he didn’t sprout physical wings, Careathers alleged that the drink doesn’t provide the extreme energy boost the marketing slogan claims. The class action was a result of allegations that Red Bull customers had been misled regarding the drink’s energy-boosting superpowers.

Coffee Is More Likely To Give You Wings

A look at Red Bull’s ingredient list doesn’t reveal anything capable of giving you wings. The drink contains ingredients such as taurine, B vitamins, and caffeine. Taurine and B vitamins may support natural energy, but they aren’t viewed as stimulants.

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Red Bull’s caffeine content is a little less than what is found in a homebrewed cup of coffee. Still, there aren’t many coffee lovers who are limiting themselves to eight ounces. The Grande size cup from Starbucks is double that at 16 ounces, which means your average drive-through coffee has more than twice the amount of caffeine as Red Bull.

Red Bull Defends Its Product

Throughout this, Red Bull has stood by their product and their marketing. Following the lawsuit, which was eventually settled for $13 million, the company issued a statement that alluded to the fact that Red Bull settled the lawsuit to avoid lengthy and costly litigation.

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One can also assume their motive to settle quickly was sparked by wanting to minimize the media coverage that came with it. Fast forward more than a decade, and the Red Bull website still claims that it “Gives You Wiiings,” while the can itself reads “Vitalizes Body and Mind.”

How The Wingless Lawsuit Paid Out

In the settlement, Red Bull agreed to pay $10 to anyone who had purchased the energy drink within the last ten years. Recipients could also choose to receive their portion of the payout with two Red Bull products, with the overall cost not exceeding $15 USD.

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The payout of the class action suit was capped at the sticker price of $13 million, in addition to paying up to $4.75 million in legal costs. Was this an expensive venture for Red Bull? Absolutely, but it hasn’t seemed to hurt the energy drink giant. In 2023, Red Bull claimed to have sold more than 12 billion cans of the drink worldwide.

How Many Times Has Red Bull Been Sued

It turns out that the energy drink giant’s lawsuit over not providing customers with theoretical wings isn’t the only time it has been involved in a court battle. The years between 2013 and 2016 were a little rough on Red Bull from a legal standpoint.

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In 2013, the family of a man named Cory Terry filed a lawsuit to the tune of $85 million against Red Bull. The family’s claim was that Mr. Terry suffered a heart attack between basketball games after consuming Red Bull. The wrongful death lawsuit was presumably settled out of court by Red Bull, with the amount of the settlement remaining undisclosed.

Another Wrongful Death Lawsuit For Red Bull

In 2016, a wrongful death case that’s currently still pending was filed against Red Bull. In this case, the mother of a man named Jacob Wade filed a suit against the beverage company, claiming that Red Bull was a substantial factor in causing Jacob Wade to experience an aortic dissection.

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In all fairness, it isn’t just Red Bull that has been the recipient of allegations and legal repercussions. Several other big players in the energy drink business, including Monster and Celsius, have also had legal action taken against them. These lawsuits range from wrongful death accusations to wrongfully targeting children and adolescents in their marketing.

About Red Bull

Red Bull burst onto the market in Austria in 1987. Red Bull technically wasn’t the first energy drink, but the argument can easily be made that it changed the soft drink scene, elevating caffeinated and energy-boosting beverages to a new level of consumer glory.

Source: Pixabay

Red Bull is owned by Red Bull GmbH, and according to the most recent statistics, owns the largest portion of the energy drink market share at 43%, with Monster energy drink trailing behind by just a few points. With new flavors and a growing fan base, it’s clear that past and current litigations have not hurt Red Bull’s growth.

Red Bull Moves Past Wingless Claims

Old news finds a way to become viral, and this Red Bull story has recently gained more energy and steam than a can of the drink allegedly supplies. This class action lawsuit was initiated more than a decade ago, and to this date, not a single person has grown wings by consuming the drink.

Source: Pixabay

Red Bull has moved past this lawsuit in what was a strategic move from their lawyers. A claim that a drink doesn’t give you wings is one that catches attention, but Red Bull sailed through it with grace while standing by their product. In the end, Red Bull is a caffeinated soft drink and not much more.

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Alexis Cross

Written by Alexis Cross

Alexis lives by the saying: 'A Jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one'
With experience in roofing, remodeling kitchens and baths, home appliance maintenance, residential painting, and interior decor... let's just say she is always working on a project or three.

Her writing style is reflected by this multifaceted approach

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