Gatorade Settles Water Suit for $300K 09/22 06:15
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Just because drought-ravaged California has spent
years urging residents to conserve water doesn't mean it wants people to
actually stop drinking the stuff.
When a Gatorade cellphone game suggested doing just that state Attorney
General Xavier Becerra filed a complaint accusing the popular thirst-quenching
drink's maker of false advertising.
By Thursday --- less than a day after Becerra's complaint --- the issue was
water under the bridge: Gatorade quickly reached a settlement in which it
agreed to pay $300,000 and promised not to badmouth water. The company admitted
At issue was Gatorade's free mobile game "Bolt!," in which players help
"refuel" Olympic runner Usain Bolt's race to a finish line. The sprinter picks
up speed when he hits Gatorade icons and slows when he runs into water. Players
are encouraged to "keep your performance high and avoid water."
The game, downloaded 30,000 times in California and 2.3 million times
worldwide, is no longer available.
Becerra complained that it could lead children to make bad nutritional
"Making misleading statements is a violation of California law. But making
misleading statements aimed at our children is beyond unlawful, it's morally
wrong and a betrayal of trust," he said in a statement.
Gatorade indicated in its own statement it has nothing against water.
"The mobile game, Bolt!, was designed to highlight the unique role and
benefits of sports drinks in supporting athletic performance," company
spokeswoman Katie Vidaillet said in an email. "We recognize the role water
plays in overall health and wellness, and offer our consumers great options."
As part of the settlement, Gatorade agreed not to make other games that give
the impression water will hinder athletic performance or that athletes only
consume Gatorade and not water.
Additionally, the company promised to make "reasonable efforts" to abide by
its corporate parent PepsiCo's policy ensuring responsible advertising to
children and disclosure of contracts with product endorsers.
Terms of the settlement also call for putting $120,000 toward the study or
promotion of childhood and teenage nutrition and consumption of water.