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It doesn't give you wings
Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by John Drake, vp of brand strategy at Drake Cooper. He blogs regularly on campaign planning.

For years Red Bull has used the tagline it "gives you wings". Recently, a long-time Red Bull drinker sued the company because, despite drinking the brand for years, it had failed to give him wings or improve his athletic or intellectual performance. The consumer won and Red Bull settled for $13 million.

The media is primarily talking about how that $13 million is being handed out to people. They're missing the more important story.

Red Bull settled out of court for $13 million because they "didn't want the cost and distraction of litigation". This might work for them because the company reportedly spends 30 percent of their revenue on marketing making them one of the most marketing-led organizations on Earth. So $13 million, while a large sum by any means, can probably be handled through shaving some events next year.

Red Bull took the easy way out. Because they could.

And now there's a precedent.

Taglines come in all forms. But now because of this case, taglines that attempt to be directive can suddenly be held accountable for factualness.

I had a Coke yesterday and it didn't give me happiness.

My Allstate agent didn't call me back promptly so I wasn't In Good Hands.

Outback says no rules, just right but I ate there on Saturday and they asked me to leave because of my bad, no-rules behavior.

These sound silly. But it's what happened to Red Bull.

Maybe Red Bull can easily handle $13 million. Perhaps Outback can too. But most businesses cannot. So let's not let frivolous actions get swept out the door quickly and have their implications go so lazily unreported by mainstream media.

More on Warc:

Subjects: Advertising, Brands

20 October 2014 12:07

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