Red Bull red faced The drink that gives you wings has them clipped.
The Advertising Standards Association upheld a complaint from consumers about exaggerated claims today. Red Bull, sponsors of the team endurance race held annually at Sandwell Park, Birmingham, as well as other extreme sporting events, claimed that the soft drink improved concentration, endurance and reaction time. After a protracted deliberation of three years, the longest in the ASA's history, it found no evidence to substantiate the claim despite studies cited by the drinks manufacturer.
Red Bull contains sugar, caffeine and an amino acid, taurine, from which it derives its name. In the spring of 1997 the ASA received a herd of complaints from customers disappointed in the drink's affect. Whether any were from disgruntled riders in the inaugural 24-hour race is unknown.
Experts for the ASA acknowledged the caffeine content of the drink but said the amount is no more than a cup of coffee.
Their report said: "The advertisers had not proved that Red Bull would improve the concentration and reaction time of the vast majority of readers, irrespective of circumstances." The same went for the company's claims about endurance.
Red Bull sold 265 million cans of the drink last year in the UK, largely to pubs and clubs where it has become popular on its own or as a mixer. The company now has to have future advertising approved by the ASA. Reports that the organisers of the 24-hour mountain bike endurance race are now seeking sponsorship from Ovaltine are unconfirmed.