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The Dangers of Caffeine-Spiked Energy Drinks
Learning Objectives: n n Define what caffeine is and where it comes from Understand why it is difficult to know the true caffeine content of energy drinks Understand that “energy” provided by many energy drinks is a result of caffeine and sugar Understand that caffeine can have addictive properties
Introduction n Energy drink manufacturers know that people want immediate tangible results. In the middle of a busy day, we seek instant remedies for our lagging energy. Instead of focusing on improving our diets and sleep habits, many of us turn to energy drinks for a boost. Afterall, what harm could come from beverages that are available at any grocery store, deli or vending machine?
Energy Drinks Energy drink slogans are as different as the drinks themselves, but they all work to appeal to the ideal consumer crowd. Energy drinks, unlike other beverages, are traditionally marketed to a very small, specific consumer group. For example, some energy drink brands focus on extreme sports enthusiasts, others cater to students and their energy needs, and still others try to attract the video game crowd. Top energy drinks by brand are Red bull in first place, followed by Rockstar and Monster. The target market for energy drinks is mostly male teenagers and young adults.
What are Energy Drinks? n Beverages that are marketed as ways to increase alertness and short-term energy.
Summary n n Energy drinks contain a variety of ingredients, primarily caffeine or guarana and vitamins Industry is driven by health and wellness trends No scientific evidence to prove energy drink claims Energy drinks are primarily consumed by the younger generation, people who are “on-the-go”
Industry History n n n Nearly 20 years old Began in Europe & Asia Red Bull: first in US in 1997 Hansen also based in US in 1997 First became popular with athletes in US - extra energy for workouts & competitions
How popular are energy drinks? n n n Sales of the hundreds of energy drinks on the market have exploded, growing from $1. 2 million in 2002 to $6. 6 billion in 2007. It is estimated that by 2011, sales of energy drinks will reach $9 billion The primary market for these drinks is males between the age of 13 and 35 years old.
How much caffeine is in energy drinks? Varies depending on the brand. n For Example, Red Bull contains 80 mg of caffeine in an 8. 4 ounce can, which is less than an average cup of coffee (133 mg) but more than a Coke or Pepsi (35 -38 mg). Other brands contain 300 mg or more caffeine. n
How much caffeine is in energy drinks? The total amount of caffeine in an energy drink can be substantially increased by the inclusion of other caffeine-containing ingredients. n Many energy drinks include substances that naturally contain caffeine, such as guarana, kola nut, yerba mate, and green tea. n
What other ingredients are in energy drinks? n Energy drinks often contain sugar or other sweeteners, as well as a range of vitamins (especially B group vitamins), amino acids (such as taurine), and herbal supplements (such as ginkgo, echinacea, and ginseng).
What are the health effects of drinking energy drinks? n n Drinking energy drinks in moderation is not necessarily harmful. Excessive consumption of energy drinks containing caffeine, however, can result in the same health effects related to consuming too much caffeine, such as insomnia, jitters, nervousness, gastrointestinal problems, and heart palpitations. Like sodas, the amount of sugar and empty calories (calories that do not contain nutrients) in energy drinks contribute to poor dietary health when consumed regularly.
Do energy drinks counteract the effects of alcohol? n n While the stimulant properties of an energy drink may make you think you are more alert and sober, energy drinks do not actually reduce the intoxicating, depressant effects of alcohol on your body. In addition, mixing energy drinks with alcohol can cause dehydration because both are diuretics, meaning that they increase the rate of urination.
Common Facts About How Caffeine Affects the Human Body n n n Acts by stimulating the central nervous system. It has been shown to increase memory function and make users feel more energetic, alert and productive. Can cause jitters, an overstimulation of the central nervous system that can cause nervous shaking. Excess can cause insomnia, or inability to fall asleep. Over consumption can lead to caffeine intoxication. Symptoms include fever, low blood pressure, rapid or irregular heartbeat, rapid breathing, severe tremors, seizures, and (rarely) death.
Energy Drink Ingredients Stimulants n Caffeine – often touted as “equal to a cup of coffee” — which tells us next to nothing, of course because cups of coffee just like coffee itself varies greatly from product to product (wondering why full disclosure is not required) n Guarana – Made from the seeds of a plant native to Brazil, guarana speeds up the brain’s activity and is used to promote weight loss due to its stimulant and diuretic effect. Guarana contains 3% to 5% caffeine. n Yerba maté - A stimulant beverage similar to tea, very popular in South America, brewed from the dried leaves and stemlets of a member of the holly family. Also contains some caffeine.
Energy Drink Ingredients Amino Acids – amino acids are often referred to as the building blocks of proteins. n Taurine is a common one. Taurine is an amino acid that was first discovered in bulls. It is naturally occurring in humans and deserves it’s own post. n L-Carnitine – An amino acid usually created by your liver and kidneys which helps raise metabolism and energy levels.
Energy Drink Ingredients n B-Group Vitamins – B-6, B-1, B-2 in particular – Known for increasing energy levels; B vitamins are needed to convert food into energy.
Alcoholic Energy Drinks “Alcospeed” n What is “alcospeed”? n Alcoholic beverages, often flavored malt beverages, pre-mixed with stimulants such as caffeine, guarana, taurine and ginseng. They usually have elevated alcohol content.
Dangers of Mixing Alcohol with Energy Drinks n n Laboratory research suggests that when caffeine is mixed with alcohol it overcomes the sedating effects of alcohol and people may perceive that they are less intoxicated than they really are Consuming alcohol with stimulants incurs physiological effects such as feelings that one can drink more than previously thought or that one’s level of intoxication is less than expected.
Advertising and Energy Drinks n n Use distribution as a marketing tool - fashionable night clubs, convenience stores, and gas stations. Red Bull increased it’s advertising expenditures from $2 million in 1998 to more than $40 million in 2003. In 2004, Red Bull spent $600 million Energy drink companies market themselves around extreme sports and adventure. Red Bull supports 240 athletes worldwide to help promote their product Monster is known for its high advertising budget
Red Bull Energy Drinks n n Logo: Two charging bulls Colors: Red, blue, white/silver, yellow Slogan: “Red Bull gives you wiiiings” Commercials: Generally cartoons; sometimes spoofs on famous stories (Rapunzel, Frog prince, Aladdin, Adam and Eve, Petrus)
Underlying Message Red Bull is essential to having a fulfilling life, because it can make your life exciting and fun. With the energy drink, anyone can conquer things that were never possible before.
Rockstar Energy Drinks n n Logo: Star Colors: Gold, Black, Red, White Slogan: “Party Like A Rockstar” Ads: Typically with attractive girls in bikinis and projecting a party image
Rockstar Advertisement n n n Ad setting is in a Jacuzzi during the evening Two hot females in bikinis, one calling up people to come over for a party and the other pouring herself a rockstar drink in a champagne glass. Rockstar is being chilled in the ice chest, replacing what would normally be alcohol.
Rockstar - Message Literal meaning: Rockstar will make you cool, sexy, wealthy, famous, and powerful n Drinking Rockstar will make you feel energized, healthy, and strong. If you drink Rockstar, it will also help you look sexy, stay in shape, and feel good all day. n Hidden Subtext: Buy our product and you will live, feel, and act like a Rockstar. n
Xyience Energy Drinks n n Logo: Large circle in the center with smaller circle on the left of it. Colors: Each drink has a specific color that represents its flavor. Slogan: “Xtreme science for your active lifestyle” Commercial: Attractive woman drinking it and dancing with energy.
Xyience - Commercial n n Attractive woman slouching in chair with obviously no energy to move The woman picks up a can of Xyience energy drink and takes a sip Immediately gains energy and begins dancing Followed by a large explosion in the background
Xyience - Appeals n n The need for sex – the Xyience add oozes sex appeal and is directly aimed at male population, which is the target audience for energy drinks. Sex appeal is clearly seen throughout the ad, but especially when the model kisses the can at the end of the ad. Also, the clothes (or more accurately, the lack of clothes) in the ad easily capture the attention of male viewers. The need for escape – the illusion that if you drink this energy drink, you could potentially have this woman. Xyience presents an opportunity to escape from an unfulfilling life without the women in the Xyience advertisements. Furthermore, the company plays up the chance to “have” the woman in the ad by providing desktop photos, etc.
Underlying Message Xyience will give you explosive energy even when you are exhausted. n Xyience will make you sexy and bring excitement to your life. n Xyience is a blessing to have in your life (expressed when the model kisses the can at the end) n
Monster Energy Drinks n n Logo: Big “creepy” M looks like it’s been slashed or clawed as if a Monster has created it. Colors: Green and White for main logo. Colors of logos on cans are different depending on the product Slogan: “Unleash the Beast!” Commercials: Usually ad prints or internet ads
Monster Print Ad n Ad has a race car driver, presuming someone famous and driver of the Monster Energy race care n Slogan is on the upper left hand side “Unleash the Beast!” in standard Monster green color n Race car is center of shot and has flames coming out of it
Monster - Appeals n Need to Affiliation n Race car fans and clubs – many people, a large majority of the men, want to be affiliated with racing n Need to escape n n The dream of driving a race car; getting to go fast Need to aggress n Racing is an aggressive sport n The flames in the ad also hint at aggression
Underlying Message Product messages are definitely slanted towards males – their target audience. “Unleash the Beast!” really aims to convenience the consumer that their product will give them a real increase of energy and make them tougher, boosts athletic performance or powers of concentration – this could be why it appeals to the extreme sports fans.