Red Bull Gives You $15 Million, Not Wings

Everyone has seen those “Red Bull gives you wings” commercials, and the astute amongst you probably noticed that a while back the ad copy in those commercials changed from simply saying “Red Bull gives you wings” to something more along the lines of “Red Bull gives you wings.  Well, actually, Red Bull’s sugar and caffeine packed formula helps make you hyper for 15 minutes!” only maybe a little more complimentary to the product itself.  Ever wonder why they did that?

As it happens, when you advertise a product, you need to be super careful.  Red Bull can’t say it gives you wings and leave that as a complete sentence unless Red Bull actually gives you wings.  Why?  Is anyone stupid enough to not understand the metaphor?  Yes.  Many people, in fact.  This is why shampoo bottles still say “external use only.”  You have to guard yourself, as a corporation, against two sorts of people – the stupid and the vindictively greedy.  The stupid will take you at your literal word and try to fly off a bridge after drinking Red Bull.  The vindictively greedy will jump off that bridge knowing they can’t fly just so they can sue Red Bull for telling them they could because common sense and personal responsibility take a backseat to an ad tag line spoken by a cartoon.

Maybe it’s no surprise then that a man has won a $15 million suit against Red Bull, although he only gets about $11 for himself to cover two Red Bull products.  The rest of the money is now up for grabs to the Red Bull drinking public who feel their lack of wings deserves compensation.

This can is legally coffee

The plaintiff claimed Red Bull deceptively advertised itself as being able to enhance performance (so he didn’t literally think he’d get wings, but he did think the drink would give him some kind of physical or performance edge of some kind.  Any kind) and that never happened.  As a regular drinker for over a decade he never found any improvement in any aspect of his personal athleticism and that means Red Bull is being untruthful in its advertising.  For their part, Red Bull claims they never lied or misrepresented anything, but they did settle the case to avoid litigation.  So take paying $15 million “even though we were right” for whatever you think it’s worth.

So long as the settlement is approved, anyone who bought a Red Bull in the last 10 years is entitled to get their money back.  Maybe that money can help pay for some paper mache wings.