NEW YORK Gatorade today filed a lawsuit claiming that Coca-Cola-owned Powerade has deceived consumers with several false claims about its ION4 sports drink.
In the ads, Powerade is called an “upgrade” over PepsiCo’s Gatorade, which said the claim is untrue and unsupported by science.
Powerade debuted its “The complete sports drink” ad campaign last month. Coke has been positioning the No. 2 sports drink as superior because it has calcium and magnesium. Its ad copy includes the messaging: “Don’t settle for an incomplete sports drink.” The agency Ammirati, New York, handles.
“As the category leader, we have a responsibility to ensure consumers are accurately informed about the benefits of a sports drink,” said Gatorade in a statement. “And the truth is scientists say there is no evidence that Powerade ION4 is a more complete sports drink than Gatorade. This claim is complete in only one way — it is completely false. Gatorade is the most thoroughly researched beverage in the world, and the only sports drink with more than 40 years of science to back up its claims that it works — hydrating athletes, replenishing electrolytes and providing fuel for working muscles.”
Gatorade’s statement said Powerade’s levels of calcium and magnesium are less than a half percent of daily-recommended allowances. “More calcium and magnesium are found in most tap water,” said the statement.
Coca-Cola rep Scott Williamson said: “We stand behind our product and are prepared to defend the role that Powerade plays in hydrating consumers.”
At roughly 80 percent, Gatorade is far and away the sports drink category leader. Gatorade spent $112 million on media last year compared to Powerade’s $14 million, per Nielsen.