SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline) — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Sept. 21 a concurrent complaint and settlement against The Gatorade Company. Gatorade will pay $300,000, of which $120,000 will be used to fund education and research on water consumption.
According to Becerra’s office, Gatorade used a mobile video game application to market its products to teenagers and young adults. In this video game, the company allegedly used misleading statements about water, in violation of California consumer protection laws.
“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. It's what causes consumers to lose faith in the products they buy,” Becerra said. “[This] settlement should make clear that the California Department of Justice will pursue false advertisers and hold them accountable.”
In Gatorade’s video game, players controlled a cartoon version of Olympic gold medal sprinter Usain Bolt. When they touched a Gatorade icon, Bolt ran faster and the “fuel meter” in the game increased. However, when they touched a water droplet, he ran slower and the “fuel meter” decreased. Additionally, Gatorade used a slogan saying, “Keep your performance level high By avoiding water.”