By: Michael Seinberg
Here’s a quick quiz (no cheating!): do you believe everything you see in advertisements? If you answered no, congratulations – you are blessed with basic common sense. Unfortunately, one buyer of Red Bull answered yes, and he’s hoping to cash in on what is easily the most ridiculous lawsuit of 2013 (so far).
Benjamin Careathers of the Bronx is the lead plaintiff in the suit, which was filed recently in US District Court for the Southern District of New York and made public less than a week ago. Ben’s complaint? He’s been a faithful Red Bull drinker since 2002 but he recently discovered that his sacred beverage provides no more energy than a cup of coffee or a caffeine pill, though the can is still, admittedly, way cooler.
One has to immediately ask Ben, “It took you 11 years to figure this out?!” Well, beyond concerns for Ben’s cognitive skills, he does seem to have his math down pretty well. According to the filing, an 8.4-ounce can of Red Bull costs $2.19 or more and has 80 milligrams of caffeine. OK so far. But then Ben discovered that a regular strength NoDoz tablet has 100 mg of caffeine but only costs about 30 cents. Even, (gasp!) a 12-ounce cup of Starbucks runs you $1.85 and contains more caffeine than Red Bull.
This crushing revelation has Ben hopping mad, even if he didn’t get his wings. The suit seeks an injunction that would require the company to stop advertising that the drink can provide benefits it cannot (no flying?). And they want Red Bull to correct, “Any erroneous impression consumers may have derived concerning the nature, characteristics, or qualities of Red Bull.”
But our buddy Ben still is not done! The suit also asks for restitution of all funds the company acquired from the plaintiffs by means that the court deems unlawful. In other words, Ben wants all the money he spent on Red Bull for the past 11 years returned to him because he never managed to get airborne after knocking back a can, unlike the cool cartoon dudes in the commercials.
Personally, I would feel much better about the whole debacle if the court sees fit to toss this lawsuit out, charge Ben and his attorney for all associated costs and then orders mandatory common sense training for Ben. New York courts and taxpayers have much better things to do than waste money on suits like this. We’re just hoping Ben wasn’t a Nutella fan, or he’s going to be even angrier.