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Thursday, August 5, 2010

vitaminwater is healthy, except in court

A recent federal court hearing in New York has revealed the amazing, chameleon-like qualities of Coca-Cola's vitaminwater. It's the only beverage in existence whose nutritional qualities change when it's carried into a federal court.

For those unfamiliar with vitaminwater, it's a sugary "energy" drink. Each bottle touts a blend of added nutrients geared to specific health and wellness benefits (ex. Energy, Defense, Focus, and my favorite, XXX)

vitaminwater's marketing materials are unequivocal - Coca-Cola claims vitaminwater contributes to "better health." Here's a snippet from the vitaminwater FAQ page.

vitaminwater.jpg

Exaggerating the supposed healthiness of food and drink products is nothing new, but when vitaminwater's health claims were challenged in Federal court by a consumer advocacy group, Coca-Cola's lawyers had an interesting reaction. They denied their own marketing campaign:

From U.S. District Court Judge John Gleeson:

"At oral argument defendants suggested that no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking vitaminwater was a healthy beverage or was composed only of vitamins and water because the sweet taste of vitaminwater puts consumers on notice that the product contains sugar."

In other words, Coca-Cola's lawyers told the court vitaminwater drinkers are stupid if they actually believe Coca-Cola's health claims about vitaminwater.

In fairness to Coke's lawyers, they're right. You actually do have to be a little bit dumb to think sugar water with a sprinkling of vitamin C is somehow healthy. But "only a stupid person would believe that crap" is nevertheless a strange argument to hear from, you know, the same people spewing out the crap.

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