All was not quiet on the sports-drink front of the Hydration Wars, as one of its power players, Glacéau Vitaminwater, received a crippling blow to its propaganda machine last month - a blow surprisingly not dealt by SoBe Lifewater's army of break-dancing lizards.
Instead, the Center for Science in the Public Interest filed a class-action lawsuit against parent company Coca-Cola, charging the beverage conglomerate utilizes "deceptive and unsubstantiated claims" for its line of Vitaminwater drinks. As alleged by CSPI, Coca-Cola promises the unknowing, thirsty masses (via marketing copy, Web site and bottle labels) that by consuming Vitaminwater, they will reduce their risk of chronic diseases, promote healthy joints and support optimal immune functions.
Not so, counters the CSPI, claiming each bottle of Vitaminwater, whose various flavors and hues do bear a passing resemblance to Kool-Aid, possesses 33 grams of sugar. "I was attracted by the prospect of getting extra vitamins," says James Koh, a San Francisco resident and plaintiff in the suit. "But I had no idea that I was actually getting almost a Coke's worth of sugar and calories. There's no way I would have spent money on that, had I known."
Coca-Cola, of course, fired back, dismissing CSPI's allegations of hydration propaganda and countering that it clearly labels the contents of its beverages. "We don't need a 'healthful' alternative to sodas," Coca-Cola says in a statement. "All our beverages, including sparkling and diets, can be part of healthful diet."
Things (like crippling obesity, a mouthful of cavities and diabetes) do go better with Coke, we're sure.