I realized just how successful the marketing efforts behind the energy drink in the tiny bottle known as "5-Hour Energy" have been when I walked with my family across the parking lot toward the Blue Moose bar and grill in East Grand Forks last week. There, on the ground, I observed litter that was not typical of what you might find outside a sports bar. It wasn't cigarette butts or empty beer bottles. There, in one small, confined space on the ground, were five empty, little bottles of 5-Hour Energy.
It was easy to deduct the scenario: A handful of people had each guzzled their own bottle of 5-Hour Energy before entering the Blue Moose so they could, in theory, party harder and party longer because they wouldn't get tired and want to go to bed. It's why so many people manage to choke down mixed alcoholic beverages that involve seemingly odd-couple ingredients like Jagermeiser and Red Bull energy drink. These days, when it comes to young people and partying, it's not necessarily about making wild and crazy memories with your crew or finding someone of the opposite sex who's open to some intimate fun, it's about stamina. After all, if you're sawing logs when the real debauchery commences at around 4 a.m., who's going to take the photos for your Facebook page?
But, seriously, 5-Hour Energy? Red Bull? You can delude yourself all you want by saying that they taste great, but just typing the two energy drink brand names in this paragraph made my salivary glands involuntary shoot out of my mouth and splatter on my computer screen. I’d rather eat cooked peas and liver.
No one ever claimed Red Bull is good for you, but these marketing geniuses behind 5-Hour Energy? It's full of vitamins and minerals and other things your body needs to be healthy, strong and energetic. Open up a bottle and, in one of the drink's television commercials, out pops an avocado and a banana.
First marketed as an energy drink that gives you sustained energy when you really need it, without bouncing off the walls and scaring everyone around you with your frantic enthusiasm, the people behind 5-Hour Energy are now trying to hit a five-run grand slam: They're taking on coffee.
"When do you drink 5-Hour Energy?"
That's what the narrator in the new series of TV commercials asks. The paid commercial actors' answers make it clear that they rely on the energy boost provided by 5-Hour Energy “every day,” at work, at home, at play, at school, at the health club...everywhere.
But before announcing that they rely on 5-Hour Energy daily, a couple of the commercial actors, portraying frazzled parents or professionals running late in the morning, tell us that grabbing a bottle of 5-Hour Energy out of the kitchen cupboard is much quicker than making a pot of coffee or standing in line at the coffee bistro down the street. One guy, when he opens his kitchen cupboard, which one could deduct once was home to a bunch of coffee mugs, it's fully stocked with six packs of 5-Hour Energy. "Let's do this," he says confidently after gulping down his little magic bottle, as he adjusts his tie before heading out the door to what promises to be an ultra-productive day at the office.
Sorry, dude, but I'm not going to "do this." Not only do I not wear a tie to work, but I like the coffee process as much as I savor the actual act of drinking a few cups during my typical morning, at home or at work. I like listening to a pot brew while I'm reading the morning paper. I like pouring the first cup. I like shoving the steaming cup into my too-curious cat’s face and watching him recoil.
I don't want to ingest tangy, tart, sour citrus flavor in the morning. I want black coffee so stiff I feel compelled to make chewing motions with my mouth even if there is nothing solid to break down for the purposes of swallowing.
I want to work for my morning energy boost. I want to carry around the world's most expensive thermal coffee mug, my Nissan Thermos Thermax stainless steel beauty that keeps my java hot for more than three hours, even on a chilly golf course. If my necessary morning jolt doesn't require five trips to the bathroom, then why did the Big Man upstairs feel compelled to equip us with bladders? (When you think about it, coffee and bladders are a great argument against evolution. Humans drink so much of it, you’d think we’d be equipped with five-gallon bladders by now. Oh, well...go God!)
So you can keep your 5-Hour Energy. The Ferris Bueller-like new star of the latest 5-Hour Energy commercials - there’s an “extra strength” formula to promote now, after all - strolls among motivated, productive 5-Hour Energy addicts and says you should drink 5-Hour Energy when “You need to get stuff done.”?Then he glances at the secretary shoving papers into a file cabinet at warp speed and says, “Wow, look at you go.”
Yes, look at me go, to get a cup of coffee. Maybe even a banana.