What’s this energy drink nonsense all about then?
I noticed an article about the latest overpriced mug-juice to be hitting the Polish market soon. This one’s called “Kalaschnikow – The Red Bang”, which seems to be pitching it about right for the target market. Here’s one of their ads which many are excited by and I am….well…..underwhelmed. Bullets flying…all very macho.
I love this obsession with butch names – Red Bull, Bawls, Beaver Buzz, Burn, Cocaine, Crunk!!, Full Throttle, Monster, Relentless, Rip-It, Sparks. Whatever next? I think I’d have to go for either ‘SpunkSlap’, ‘Rock-Hard’ or perhaps ‘Chainsaw’ should anyone be bold enough to let me market their latest tin of Guarana juice.
Red Bull at least can claim to have some history. It’s all the Japs fault. They introduced a product called ‘Lipovitan’ back in the ’60s that was marketed to “alleviate physical and mental fatigue”. It looks like little bottles of medicine.
The main ingredients are a lot of caffeine and an organic acid normally found in bile (yummy!) called taurine. Taurine is named after taurus as it was first isolated in ox bile, hence all the bull references (they left out the bile part, wonder why?).
From Lipovitan, the Koreans went on to produce the catchily named ‘Krating Daeng’, which is where the Red-Bull logo and name first appear. This was a huge hit in the 70s and 80s in Asia. (Note, the Koreans might have started the butchness, but they didn’t take it to extremes.)
From this to Red Bull just required an Austrian entrepreneur called Dietrich Mateschitz to visit Korea and realise that drinking this stuff helped his jet lag. The rest, as they say, is history. Well over a billion cans of Red Bull are sold every year, Dietrich’s a billionaire as is his partner in the Red Bull ownership and the energy drink business just goes from strength to strength (excuse the pun) worth over $3 billion a year in the USA alone.
Thinking as I type, I can’t really claim that this is all new to me as when I was a kid we did have Lucozade. Not as effective perhaps, but it was claiming to do the same things as Red Bull is today. The trouble was that it tasted pretty nasty and we just didn’t feel the need for an energy boost like the kids today seem to. Not that we were short of energy, we had tons of it, hence the feeling that an expensive drink to give us more was, well, a waste of money. We also found it easy enough to get drunk on four pints of Old Speckled Hen so didn’t see the need to mix Lucozade with Gin, or whatever to get super-drunk, super-fast. We quite enjoyed talking to each other for a while, while we downed the pints. What do they do today? I suppose they prefer talking when they’re out of their heads? Most likely they just don’t talk.
I wonder what’s changed in the last 30 years to make these things so popular today? Is it just all marketing or have the kids changed too? I think that’s a rhetorical question.
When I see things like this, I can’t help myself thinking “I wonder what else the planet could spend $5 billion or more on, every year, that might be a touch more beneficial for the human race?”.
Oh well. Here comes Kalaschnikow. Whoopee!