Gatorade banned and fined $300k for bad-mouthing water

Cornelia Mascio
Settembre 22, 2017

Specifically, users controlled a cartoon version of Olympic Gold Medalist Usain Bolt and ran an endless race to recover gold coins stolen by pirates.

Gatorade made misleading "anti-water statements" while pushing the benefits of its sports drinks in a video game marketed to teenagers, according to a settlement announced Thursday by California's attorney general.

The game, downloaded 30,000 times in California and 2.3 million times worldwide, is no longer available.

"Making misleading statements aimed at our children is beyond unlawful, it's morally wrong and a betrayal of trust", said Becerra in a statement. The mobile app game, Bolt, was created to market Gatorade and instructed players to "Keep Your Performance High By Avoiding Water". "It's what causes consumers to lose faith in the products they buy", Becerra said in a statement.

The complaint further alleges that Gatorade promoted "Bolt!" on social media, drawing in a youthful audience of which more than 70 percent was aged 13 to 24.

The game was available in 2012 and 2013 and for a limited time in 2017.

Gatorade and PepsiCo did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the settlement.

Gatorade also agreed to use "reasonable efforts" to abide by parent company PepsiCo's policy on responsible advertising to children and to disclose its contracts with endorsers.

So-called "advergames"-downloadable or internet-based video games that advertise a brand-name product by featuring it as part of the game-influence the behavior of consumers and especially children, who are the common targets of such games".

"The company has agreed not to make any marketing or advertising apps that give the misleading impressions that "(a) water will hinder and/or adversely affect athletic performance; (b) consuming water in general is to be avoided in favor of consuming Gatorade; (c) athletes consume Gatorade and avoid all water consumption; and (d) water consumption in general should be avoided", according to the settlement.

Sports drinks often have a high sugar content.

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