The early 2000s saw an interesting race in the energy drink market. Monster, Rockstar, Red Bull, and many others poured into supermarkets, gas stations, convenience stores, and college campuses. Forget the "traditional" Mountain Dew, or MD's now defunct but crazier cousin Surge; these energy drinks were the staple food for the intense lifestyle.
And then came 5-hour Energy. Nothing nearly as intense as Monster, cheaper than Red Bull, yet claiming to be just as effective. The no-crash alternative. It's funny; when we were in college, and even shortly after, every time the group of guys was about to go out, we'd cheers with a 5-hour Energy chased down by our libation of choice.
Naturally, then, our attention was grabbed when news outlets started to report that three states — Oregon, Vermont and Washington — are suing the companies behind 5-Hour based on the claims that its advertising and marketing practices are deceptive and misleading.
When reading the article by Food Safety News, one can determine that the states have a compelling case. The way the wording for "no crash" had to be qualified, and that the commercials talk about 3,000 doctors liking the product without real context, could definitely be considered as misleading.
But that is certainly no slam dunk. And 5-Hour knows that.
Unlike some of the recent companies that were under fire for deceptive advertising and simply paid the penalties and changed their ways, the 5-Hour spokesperson said that they are standing behind the claims and are going to court. Indeed, the spokesperson also went on to say that this is a type of "civil intimidation."
Bold words, 5-Hour.
The National Advertising Division of the BBB (formerly known as NARC, which was awesome) tried to rain on 5-Hour's parade in 2009. We won't be surprised if the folks at NAD try it again.
Right now, Living Essentials and IV, the companies behind 5-Hour, may need to consider releasing their findings and procedure to build credibility behind their claims. But it is always nice to see a company stand behind its messaging. Now let's hope they win.
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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