SACRAMENTO (CBSLA/AP) — One of the world’s leading sport drinks is no longer allowed to make disparaging remarks about water.
In a $300,000 settlement reached Thursday with the state of California, Gatorade agreed not to make “misleading statements” about water over allegations it misleadingly portrayed water’s benefits in a cellphone game where users refuel Olympic runner Usain Bolt.
The game, downloaded 30,000 times in California and 2.3 million times worldwide, is no longer available.
The dispute between the sports-drink company and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra was settled in less than a day after Becerra filed a complaint in Los Angeles County.
The complaint filed by the Attorney General alleges that in the videogame “Bolt!”— which was available free of charge — Gatorade “portrayed its products positively while inaccurately and negatively depicting water as hindering athletic performance.”
Players of “Bolt” controlled a cartoon version of Olympic Gold Medalist Usain Bolt and ran an endless race to recover gold coins stolen by pirates. Upon touching a Gatorade icon, the Bolt avatar ran faster and the “fuel meter” increased, and upon touching a water droplet, he slowed down and the “fuel meter” decreased.
The game’s tutorial, also urged users to “Keep Your Performance Level High By Avoiding Water.”
“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,” said Becerra. “Today’s settlement should make clear that the California Department of Justice will pursue false advertisers and hold them accountable.”
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)