Published on: February 8, 2008
Somebody once said that the thing about idiocy is that it is insufferable and unrelenting – it is forever in action and knows no rest.
Clearly, this is a definition that applies to the company that manufactures an energy drink called “Cocaine.”
That’s right. It’s back.
It’s been returned to shelves by Redux Beverages, which just a year ago said that it was going to respond to consumer and media outrage over the naming of the drink after an illegal drug by pulling it off the market and perhaps even renaming it. The product was said to have 350 percent more “energy content” than Red Bull – it has 280 milligrams of caffeine, compared to the 80 milligrams of caffeine in an average cup of coffee. And what really annoyed people – and I would count myself among them – was the fact that the name of the beverage was spelled out on the can in what appeared to be white powder.
And now, according to the company’s website, Cocaine is back by popular demand: “The world's most popular energy drink, Cocaine Energy Drink, is now available again. After thousands of letters and emails, and because of the overwhelming support from everyday people like you, we are proud to bring Cocaine Energy Drink back to stores.”
Not only that, they are selling Cocaine from the company’s website, not to mention t-shirts and other items. And the can still has the name spelled out in what looks to be a white powder.
Who the hell are these people?
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided to allow Cocaine back on the market since the makers have eliminated the tagline that said it was “the legal alternative” and added an anti-drug message to the can. Which strikes me as an agreement that has the Redux folks laughing as they go out to peddle this crap.
According to the trade magazines the company plans to be even more aggressive in its marketing and public relations efforts this time around, hoping to drown out any possible objections.
We can only hope that they are unable to do so.
Last year, I asked whether or not this manufacturer has any shame…because I think it fairly obvious that the people who work there don't have any children.
From all appearances, they are absolutely shameless. Immoral. And utterly without any sense of social accountability. It is corporate and personal irresponsibility at its worst, meant only to score a buck with no regard for the welfare and psyches of the target audience. And what makes it worse is that Redux should have learned its lesson. And they are simply thumbing their nose at all the people who tried to tell them that manufacturers that tease and seduce young people with drink names such as Cocaine (and Xtazy and PimpJuice and Tantra Erotic, all of which have proved that there is no shortage of people in this industry without conscience) deserve only loathing and contempt.
Maybe this time we can get them for false advertising, because there’s no way that this swill is the “world’s most popular energy drink.”
Once again, let me state my hope that there is no mainstream retailer out there who would participate in this lunacy.
I am disgusted by the return of this product. And I am distressed that there are idiots out there who think this is a clever marketing idea.
The good news is that they someday will be together in a special – and, I hope, especially hot – corner of hell.
The New York Times
this morning has an intriguing column by David Brooks in which he compares the current political situation to modern retailing.
“The essential competition in many consumer sectors is between commodity providers and experience providers, the companies that just deliver product and the companies that deliver a sensation, too. There’s Safeway, and then there is Whole Foods. There’s the PC, and then there’s the Mac. There are Holiday Inns, and there are W Hotels. There’s Walgreens, and there’s The Body Shop.”
And, Brooks writes, “The consumer marketplace has been bifurcating for years! It’s happening because the educated and uneducated lead different sorts of lives. Educated people are not only growing richer than less-educated people, but their lifestyles are diverging as well. A generation ago, educated families and less-educated families looked the same, but now high school graduates divorce at twice the rate of college graduates. High school grads are much more likely to have kids out of wedlock. High school grads are much more likely to be obese. They’re much more likely to smoke and to die younger.
“Their attitudes are different. High school grads are much less optimistic than college grads. They express less social trust. They feel less safe in public. They report having fewer friends and lower aspirations. The less educated speak the dialect of struggle; the more educated, the dialect of self-fulfillment.”
Brooks argues that, in this scenario, Hillary Clinton is Safeway and PC, and Barack Obama is Mac and Whole Foods.
“Hillary Clinton is a classic commodity provider,” Brooks writes. “She caters to the less-educated, less-pretentious consumer. As Ron Brownstein of The National Journal pointed out on Wednesday, she won the non-college-educated voters by 22 points in California, 32 points in Massachusetts and 54 points in Arkansas. She offers voters no frills, just commodities: tax credits, federal subsidies and scholarships. She’s got good programs at good prices.
“Barack Obama is an experience provider. He attracts the educated consumer. In the last Pew Research national survey, he led among people with college degrees by 22 points. Educated people get all emotional when they shop and vote. They want an uplifting experience so they can persuade themselves that they’re not engaging in a grubby self-interested transaction. They fall for all that zero-carbon footprint, locally grown, community-enhancing Third Place hype. They want cultural signifiers that enrich their lives with meaning.”
Go read the whole thing in the Times
I know that Roger Clemens is scheduled to testify next week in front of the US Congress, at which point he is expected to continue to deny – under oath – that he ever used steroids or human growth hormone.
Of course, that testimony may have been made more problematic by the fact that the trainer who allegedly injected him with the drugs, Brian McNamee, reportedly has given old syringes and bloody bandages to Congressional investigators, with the suggestion that somewhere in all that stuff there could be a trace of Clemens’ DNA.
Let me be clear about this. I want Clemens to be telling the truth. I really do. It will be bad for baseball if he is found to be lying…not to mention or Clemens, who could find himself charged with perjury if he makes a mistake up on the Hill.
But I’m afraid that he is not, and that he thinks he can intimidate his ay through this situation in the same way that he used to intimidate his way through nine innings.
What he doesn’t realize is this. Elected officials swing a bigger stick. They often don't hit anything…but they’ve got the stick, and when they connect, it can make a lot of noise.
The good news is that pitchers and catchers are about to report. Yippeee!
Can I do a little shameless self-promotion here?
Michael Sansolo and I are teaming up to give the keynote address at the annual Boston Seafood Show. We’ll be doing the presentation – entitled “Change Is Inevitable, Resistance Is Futile,” on Monday, February 25…and we both hope that if you’re an MNB
reader and attending the show, you’ll stop by and say hello. We’re always thrilled to meet members of the MNB
For more info, go to:
My wine of the week: the 2005 Trimpilin, a wonderful Sangiovese that is terrific with – as you might expect – Italian food. It was a gift from my sainted mother-in-law, so I don't know how much it costs…but I’m guessing it probably runs somewhere between $20 and $30. And is worth it.
That’s it for this week…see you Monday…and have a great weekend.