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.