Gatorade agreed not to make disparaging comments about water as part of a $300,000 settlement reached with the state of California in a dispute over false advertising.
The complaint filed by the Attorney General alleged that in the smartphone videogame “Bolt!,”Gatorade “portrayed its products positively while inaccurately and negatively depicting water as hindering athletic performance.”
Game players were encouraged to refuel Olympic runner Usain Bolt and the complaint charged Gatorade misleadingly portrayed the health benefits of water in a way that could harm children’s nutritional choices. The game encouraged users to “keep your performance level high and avoid water,” the complaint alleged.
The dispute, according to the Associated Press, 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 company admitted no wrongdoing.
“The mobile game, Bolt!, was designed to highlight the unique role and benefits of sports drinks in supporting athletic performance. We recognize the role water plays in overall health and wellness, and offer our consumers great options,” a Gatorade spokeswoman said in an e-mail sent to the media.
Of the settlement money, $120,000 will go toward research or promotion of childhood and teenager nutrition and the consumption of water.
The game, downloaded 30,000 times in California and 2.3 million times worldwide, is no longer available.