Gatorade pays California $300K, settles anti-water complaint

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2010 file photo, bottles of Gatorade are on display at a grocery store in Palo Alto, Calif. Gatorade has agreed not to make disparaging comments about water as part of a $300,000 settlement reached Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, with California over allegations it misleadingly portrayed water's benefits in a cellphone game where users refuel Olympic runner Usain Bolt. 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 game is no longer available. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
FILE - In this June 9, 2017 file photo, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is shown during an interview in Sacramento, Calif. Gatorade has agreed not to make disparaging comments about water as part of a $300,000 settlement reached Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, with California over allegations it misleadingly portrayed waters' benefits in a cellphone game where users refuel Olympic runner Usain Bolt. The dispute between the sports-drink company and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra was settled in less than day after Becerra filed a complaint in Los Angeles County. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Just because drought-ravaged California has spent years urging residents to conserve water doesn't mean it wants people to actually stop drinking the stuff.

When a Gatorade cellphone game suggested doing just that state Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a complaint accusing the popular thirst-quenching drink's maker of false advertising.

By Thursday — less than a day after Becerra's complaint — the issue was water under the bridge: Gatorade quickly reached a settlement in which it agreed to pay $300,000 and promised not to badmouth water. The company admitted no wrongdoing.

At issue was Gatorade's free mobile game "Bolt!," in which players help "refuel" Olympic runner Usain Bolt's race to a finish line. The sprinter picks up speed when he hits Gatorade icons and slows when he runs into water. Players are encouraged to "keep your performance high and avoid water."

The game, downloaded 30,000 times in California and 2.3 million times worldwide, is no longer available.

Becerra complained that it could lead children to make bad nutritional choices.

"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," he said in a statement.

Gatorade indicated in its own statement it has nothing against water.

"The mobile game, Bolt!, was designed to highlight the unique role and benefits of sports drinks in supporting athletic performance," company spokeswoman Katie Vidaillet said in an email. "We recognize the role water plays in overall health and wellness, and offer our consumers great options."

As part of the settlement, Gatorade agreed not to make other games that give the impression water will hinder athletic performance or that athletes only consume Gatorade and not water.

Additionally, the company promised to make "reasonable efforts" to abide by its corporate parent PepsiCo's policy ensuring responsible advertising to children and disclosure of contracts with product endorsers.

Terms of the settlement also call for putting $120,000 toward the study or promotion of childhood and teenage nutrition and consumption of water.

Must Read

Asian stocks drift as Fed rate outlook eases on service data

Sep 7, 2016

Asian stocks meandered Wednesday after a weak report on U.S. service companies reinforced expectations that the Fed won't move anytime soon to raise interest rates

Asian shares edge higher in dull trading as US takes holiday

Sep 6, 2016

Asian shares were mixed in quiet trading on Tuesday after U.S. markets were closed for the Labor Day holiday

Stock markets cautious ahead of key Fed speech

Aug 26, 2016

European shares are mostly lower following mixed trading in Asia, with investors preferring to sit on the sidelines ahead of U.S. Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen's speech later in the day for cues on the timing of the next policy rate hike

People also read these

Asian stocks drift as Fed rate outlook eases on service data

Sep 7, 2016

Asian stocks meandered Wednesday after a weak report on U.S. service companies reinforced expectations that the Fed won't move anytime soon to raise interest rates

Asian shares edge higher in dull trading as US takes holiday

Sep 6, 2016

Asian shares were mixed in quiet trading on Tuesday after U.S. markets were closed for the Labor Day holiday

Stock markets cautious ahead of key Fed speech

Aug 26, 2016

European shares are mostly lower following mixed trading in Asia, with investors preferring to sit on the sidelines ahead of U.S. Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen's speech later in the day for cues on the timing of the next policy rate hike

Weather, 20 December
Houston Weather
+7

High: +11° Low: -2°

Humidity: 83%

Wind: NNE - 7 KPH

Canberra Weather
+27

High: +27° Low: +17°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: W - 20 KPH

Roissy-en-France Weather
+6

High: +6° Low: -5°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: ENE - 7 KPH

Florence Weather
+9

High: +9° Low: +6°

Humidity: 97%

Wind: ENE - 17 KPH

Parga Weather
+7

High: +16° Low: +4°

Humidity: 100%

Wind: SE - 25 KPH