14
Apr
09

Gatorade Sues Powerade for False Advertising

(Source: Advertising Age)

Says Coke Brand’s Campaign Misleads Consumers Into Thinking Pepsi Beverage Is ‘Incomplete’

Published: April 13, 2009

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — PepsiCo’s Gatorade brand today filed a lawsuit against Coca-Cola’s Powerade, alleging false advertising, trademark dilution, deceptive acts and practices, injury to business reputation, and unfair competition. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, takes Powerade to task for its new advertising campaign, first reported by Advertising Age.

PepsiCo claims Coca-Cola's campaign for Powerade Ion4 is 'a calculated, intentional strategy designed to falsely and viciously attack the readily-identifiable market leader, Gatorade.'
PepsiCo claims Coca-Cola’s campaign for Powerade Ion4 is ‘a calculated, intentional strategy designed to falsely and viciously attack the readily-identifiable market leader, Gatorade.’

In its suit, Gatorade asserts that the campaign misleads consumers and overstates the product benefits of its Powerade Ion4. The campaign positions Powerade’s newly reformulated drink as the “complete sports drink.” Billboards, digital efforts and an ESPN cover, which was criticized by ASME, picture half of a Gatorade bottle with the text “Don’t settle for an incomplete sports drink.”

Powerade is seeking to set itself apart by touting its drink as containing four electrolytes — sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium — while Gatorade’s formula contains just two electrolytes, sodium and potassium. Gatorade’s suit takes issue with Powerade’s positioning, noting the “miniscule” amounts of calcium and magnesium that are part of the new formulation. “There is no evidence that the minute quantities of magnesium and calcium present in Powerade Ion4 make it superior to Gatorade in any way,” the complaint states.

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