Coca-Cola’s Lawyers Claim Consumers Are Dumb To Believe Vitaminwater is Healthy

A four-year-old lawsuit concerning the false advertising of Vitaminwater as a health drink continues to cause problems for Coca-Cola. The soft drink giant's legal team has argued from the beginning that: “no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking Vitaminwater was a healthy beverage,” according to Business Insider.

The complainant, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), says that, "Coca-Cola took part in deceptive labeling and marketing for the soft drink, which included claims that the drink could reduce rise for eye disease, promote healthy joints and support ‘optimal immune function.’” Coca-Cola's response is essentially, "Who would fall for that?"

As we've seen in the Paula Deen debacle, PR disasters often lurk in court documents. In the case of Coca-Cola, the company apparently decided the PR fallout of calling its consumers dumb was worth less than the amount of money at stake in this particular lawsuit.

We suspected that was also the case with Jennifer Lopez and her decision to serenade Turkmenistan's dictator.

But Coca-Cola may be taking a big gamble on brand reputation.

What is the true cost to a business of bad PR?

Follow Lucia Davis: @LKCDavis.

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About Lucia Davis

Lucia Davis is community editor for PR News. Prior to returning to NYC, she was associate editor at iMedia Connection in Culver City, CA. In addition to PR News and iMedia, Lucia's writing has appeared in minonline, "The Minetta Review," "EQUITIES Magazine," and "The Foothills Paper."

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  • Roger

    Only 2 things justify this lawsuit … first, if Coca Cola believed the ONLY way to sell this product was by lying about its benefits, and second, if actual health or financial damages were caused as a result. For example, like saying that under a new heath care law your premiums will go down (untrue), or that you will be able to keep your doctor (the latter is an incomplete truth, since employers control most health plans and on 1/1/13 they dropped many of their offerings). Intentional deceit, damages — even in the most destructive legislation since the New Deal, it was impossible to prove. This lawsuit should be tossed on its ear.