By on June 13, 2014

2014 Red Bull F1

Once upon a time, the Sprint Cup was the Winston Cup, Rothmans decorated Porsche 962s in Group C, and the Marlboro chevron was everywhere a wheel turned in anger. Though those days are long gone, energy drink makers like Red Bull and Monster have stepped in to fill the financial void left behind by Big Tobacco. At least for now.

Asphalt & Rubber says that what happened to tobacco sponsorship in Europe and, eventually, the rest of the world could soon happen to energy drink sponsorship. Sales of energy drinks have been banned for sale to consumers under 18 in Lithuania thus far, while some cities and states in the United States are considering the same. Meanwhile, the American Medical Association is advocating a marketing ban on energy drinks to under-18s, which led to industry leaders from the likes of Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar et al having to testify before Congress.

The potential result of increased regulation could mean the energy drink makers may choose to focus on one-off events instead of sponsoring events and teams in Formula One, MotoGP et al, leaving both organizations and competitors alike once again seeking out the kind of sponsorship dollars tobacco once provided prior to the industry’s exodus in the mid- through late 1990s.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

47 Comments on “Energy Drinks May Follow Tobacco Sponsorship Into History...”


  • avatar
    FormerFF

    This is silly. While energy drinks aren’t the best thing nutritionally, are they any more harmful than a glass of fruit juice?

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      So… you don’t know anything about energy drinks then.

      They contain high quantities of caffeine and other chemicals (Red Bull has “taurine”) for concentration and staying awake. I once drank half a Monster Energy over the course of a whole afternoon, and it gave me heart palpitations. They are not safe for young people.

      • 0 avatar
        Onus

        Same here. I used to drink them when my friend was over on the weekends when i was around 16 – 17 because they tasted good. Not after that. I haven’t touched one since. I needed the caffeine anyway.

        I getup at 6:30 everyday a don’t need coffee / caffeine / energy drinks. I’ll stick with water a juice as my drinks of choice.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        OK, soda, then.

        I’ve seen any number of teenagers drink one of these drinks and it didn’t seem to affect their behavior in the slightest. Not that they’re good for you, but it’s not like tobacco, which is a known carcinogen.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          That’s correct, they do not affect outward behavior, except maybe being twitchy.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Until you overdo them. I’ve seen three now in my general office enviro going a lighter shade of pale, stopping work and feebly mumble something like “too much caffeine…just let me ride this out”.

            45 minutes later they were mostly back to normal but I guarantee if I ever saw someone my age do that abrupt halt and color change I’d instantly call for EMTs.

            Can’t imagine it felt too good on the inside.

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            Caffeine is a powerful stimulant. The fact that we don’t regulate it to any great extent is more so an oversight of a capitalist society turning the other way for powerful players.

            When I drink regular soda I get such an incredible caffeine buzz that I can get a bit overwhelmed. Energy drinks intensify that effect and create health issues with long term exposure. Still, with time motor sports will find new sponsors, NASCAR has done fine with Dupont Rainbow cars and Proctor and Gamble on the hood.

            I mean Richard Petty survived by declining all Alcohol ads on his car and refusing to race in Alcohol sponsored events because of his mother’s request.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            God dammit, I’m starting to like you.

            Say something jejune, quick!

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      And for the record I think tobacco and energy drinks SHOULD be allowed to sponsor anything they like which isn’t child-oriented. There are no kid racers or playgrounds on the track, so smoke em up. I like the Marlboro colors.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    I am no fan of “energy” drinks, given that the vast majority of us do not need more caffeine and other stimulants in our lives. But I do believe that adults need to act like adults; you should be able to handle yourself and make your own decisions.

    In the US, we can’t go 7 minutes of watching sports without seeing a beer commercial, so I don’t see why banning energy drink sponsorships for racecars should be different.

    Now, if they are going after children, and sponsoring kids events that’s a different issue.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Bring back the original 4LOKO formula, become the title sponsor of 4mula 1, win.

    To all the nannies in a bunch over this, if you don’t like this sh1t in a can, don’t drink it. If you don’t want your kids drinking this radioactive horse p1ss, don’t let them. Don’t wreck the party for the rest of us.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    The social crusaders who are forever angrily trying to ban this or that innocuous thing don’t care about The Children, or Safety, or Clean Air – they just get off on telling other people “no.”

    They’re the walking, screaming, protesting definition of fanboys – as in, they’re not looking to have their own fun, they’re out to ruin someone else’s good time.

    It’s just that simple.

    What do you suppose their next target will be?

    Once they’ve vanquished the horrifying specter of race car energy-drink advertising, who will they set their sights on then?

    Cartoon character T-shirts? Backyard barbecues? The color orange?

    Who knows – doesn’t matter.

    It’ll be something completely innocent condemned as a horrible, corrupting influence on society and The Children.

    Social crusading is a miserable, vicious predator masquerading as altruism, and it’s time to start treating it like the raging infection that it is.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      Many of the people I know practice international smuggling of illegal substances. Is it Guns, dope, humans, tobacco, alcohol ?

      No way. Not the people I know. My friends import killers. Its the stuff you spray on Dandelions. White grubs in your lawn? Live with it! Ants taking up residence in your very expensive patio. Their gifts from mother nature, don’t you know? When they move into your house, and freak your wife out? Call up a pro. 300 dollars counted out on the hood of his truck. Problem solved!

      Im so tired of the “We know whats best for you”.. crowd telling me how to live my life.

      I think I might spread some illegal “weed and feed” on my lawn today, Then maybe relax with a Vodka and Red Bull.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @ Mikey: Mmmmmm… Vodka and Red Bull….

        Cheers!

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        This. I have to cross the border just to get a big ole bag of rat poison now. When it comes to weed control, I have to get the good stuff from my farmer buddies. Ontario problems.

        • 0 avatar
          vcficus

          Danio…

          Just visited my mother in law in Trinidad… buying some sunscreen at a store and the next aisle over had freakin’ DDT in powder and areosol versions.

          Asked my brother in law about it and he laughed… “Our mosquito problem is bigger than our DDT problem… when it goes the other way we’ll quit selling it!”

          Also, I’m a firm believer in the volunteer Armed Forces but soldiers die in even non-combat roles… OK for them to sponser cars?

          Good for the goose, the gander may have her own issues…

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      ” The social crusaders who are forever angrily trying to ban this or that innocuous thing don’t care …blah blah, blah”

      Round these parts it’s the doctors leading the “crusade” against energy drinks, as in Canadian Medical Association. All the provincial doctors associations agree.

      Since I trust my doctor and not you, I’d say you were having a rant without the slightest idea what you’re talking about.

      As for poisonous lawn chemicals, I say the average twit hasn’t got a clue there either. I took a course to obtain a provincial certificate to apply same. Then you realize the general run of homeowner shouldn’t be allowed to run rampant with any of that stuff either.

      The majority of staff at my mother’s old folks home refused to get a flu shot, but happily gave them to the clients. There’s high IQ brains at work. Other well-known “experts”, i.e. women who faithfully watch celebrity shows and believe in astrology, refuse to get their kids vaccinated for measles, chicken pox, etc.

      Apparently deciding you know best against a plethora of evidence to the contrary is called freedom of choice. I call it freedom to be utterly stupid. And that’s my contrary opinion.

  • avatar
    tedward

    All medical professionals and former prosecutors should have to carry disclaimer placards when advising political leaders. Something along the lines of “I’m a single issue zealot with little to no big picture awareness. Cause and effect is not a relationship I am capable of exploring fully in the political sense. Following my advice may, in fact, lead you to look like a dumbass, and will inevitably lead to our not being able to have nice things.”

    At least when industry groups (insurance, finance, energy, etc..) want something you know right off the bat that it’s not to your benefit and that there is a clear adversary. It becomes a contest of money vs. outrage, which basically sums up our political system as a whole now that I think about it.

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      Not sure how you find a “clear adversary” even in the examples you use. The public likes having someone to reimburse them for certain risks, so the insurance industry exists. We desire electricity and gasoline, so we have an energy industry. One can store one’s money in a mattress, but mattresses don’t write mortgages very well, so, you get the idea. Of course these industries are in business to make money; the grocer doesn’t sell you food out of a concern for your nutrition, but to capitalize on your hunger. There is a mutual benefit in any transaction. Both sides have their own welfare concerns but that doesn’t have to be adversarial.

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        jpolicke

        I’m not saying the industries shouldn’t exist, or are some existential evil. Rather that any incremental change they need to lobby for can be reliably counted on to transfer wealth from you to them. Points to apply to camera enforcement tickets, or increasing points per violation…insurance industry. Reduce or reallocate refining quantities of petroleum products on the market…energy. Increasing permissible credit charges or decreasing credit standards…finance. There are a billion other examples but I’d think the trend is obvious. I don’t see how the process can lead to anything other than an adversarial relationship with myself as a consumer, at least when it comes to the issues that they spend money lobbying on.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Getting to Red Bull in F1 will be more difficult than banning tobacco sponsors, since Red Bull is an F1 constructor. Red Bull is advertising their racing team to sell F1 merchandise, like McLaren, or that’s what Red Bull can claim legally.

    However, MotoGP doesn’t have regulations that require each team to manufacturer its own unique vehicle. If MotoGP continues the customer-vehicle arrangement, they could run into trouble if energy drinks are banned.

    The public and government healthcare administrators were sufficiently angered by tobacco advertising to write new legislation if tobacco manufacturers tried to exploit loopholes. I’m not sure if the public is equally outraged about caffeinated beverages.

  • avatar
    319583076

    Our society has a quirk which is fostered by our news media. We are far more concerned with infrequent large accidents than with numerous small accidents which, in total, cause many more deaths.

    What we are not doing, and need to do, is comparing risks of various activities and then reducing the largest risks – which may not be the obvious ones.

    -Richard Wilson

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Risk assessment? That’s a novel thought! In the military and among paramedics at a large-scale disaster, they’re trained to perform triage: assess the likelihood of outcomes and direct limited attention and medical supplies to those who can be saved.

      It’s brutal, especially if you or a loved one is among the too far gone to help, but it’s necessary. There’s a social/political analogue, but everyone is too squeamish to look into, much less adopt such a process.

      Meanwhile, racing is going to need new sponsors with big bucks. I suggest they cultivate social media, like Facebook. They’re loaded, but the players in vaporware are constantly changing, so just don’t become dependent on them, i.e., no long term contracts.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Society cannot accurately assess risks, hence the modern legislative phenomenon of requiring people to subscribe to insurance programs. Social Security, Medicare, Welfare, SNAP, disability, FEMA, mandatory auto liability, and mandatory health insurance. Other optional plans like national flood insurance are available as well.

      We’ve seen a world in which the common man is responsible for assessing the risks of increasingly complicated social and economic activities. It’s a volatile existence that resembles the highs and lows of bipolar disorder.

      Unfortunately, democracy can only ensure equity, not competence, so the public is always pushing the government to abandon risk assessment and socioeconomic investment to deal with the whine of the day. It’s difficult to say whether government intervention, in aggregate, is accomplishing much of anything.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    The problem is energy drinks are targeted toward youth explicitly. Of course, this is nothing new as sugary soda pop and cereal are as well. Tobacco too, only much more subtly.

    This venue is hardly the place for sermonizing about the absolute healthcare nightmare these drinks pose (our nation’s ERs are filled daily with kids OD’ed on the stuff. If you’re not aware how toxic this crap is and what it does to a child’s body, google will gladly fill in the blanks.)

    However, I fail to see how removing the logos from the sides of race cars will reduce the consumption of myocardial-infarction-in-a can and energy drink caffein-intoxication by kids.

    I get the nanny state complaints about regulating what we eat, drink. And yes, as adults, we can make our own decisions. But understand, the energy drink niche is squarely aimed at the youth market (remember when you were 16, knew everything, and would live forever?), is a huge profit source for Big Beverage, Inc, and poses severe health risks especially and particularly to its target market.

    Fixing this problem goes far beyond racing, or even X-Game sponsorships. It’s about educating ourselves, our kids, and demanding better corporate responsibility from Big Beverage, Inc.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    How many kids ever watch racing?

    I could probably think of a few who are exposed to second-hand stupid from having nascar dads, but those families would think formula 1 is a cleaning product.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    How bout getting the newly blossoming legal marijuana industry to sponsor? Or perhaps the ultimate pushers, Big Pharmacy Co.?

    • 0 avatar
      Domestic Hearse

      Viagra (ED) sponsored (age appropriately) Mark Martin’s NASCAR ride. Novo Nordisk (diabetes) sponsors Ganassi’s IndyCar. VESICare (overactive bladder) sponsored a Joe Gibbs car. Wellbrutin (depression) has graced Bobby Labonte’s racecar.

      Big Pharmo is ever-increasingly looking at race and team sponsorships (as well as becoming major partners in the the PGA, NFL, and MLB).

      I have far less problem with these products gracing race car livery than I do energy drinks. At least, under the care of a physician, the above-mentioned drugs can be of benefit to a patient. Energy drinks, like cigarettes, have no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

      As for the legal pot industry, it’d be cute if the Denver Tourism and Visitors Bureau sponsored a NASCAR ride: Visit Denver, Come Get a Mile High. But it’ll never happen, despite the popularity of the product among the NASCAR demographic.

  • avatar
    Turkina

    Tobacco isn’t benign, even in small quantities. It’s addictive, too. Although one might feel addicted to caffeine, it’s not the same response.
    I feel that Red Bull, Monster, etc., has done a lot to promote a wide variety of sports, in a more hands-on manner than tobacco companies ever did. And for that, I am glad.

  • avatar
    319583076

    Here’s a definition of an adult – one who assumes responsibility for the decisions they make. Implicitly a child belongs to the set of not-adults. The problem being, in order for children to become adults, they have to learn to make decisions and accept responsibility.

    There is a lot of “save the children” sentiment in these comments. I understand children require adult supervision and protection, but if adult supervision and protection is not judiciously removed through the teenage years, we end up with children in adult bodies, unable and unwilling to make decisions for themselves or take responsibility for themselves.

    No one forces you to consume an energy drink. An advertisement is a suggestion, no more, no less.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “if adult supervision and protection is not judiciously removed through the teenage years, we end up with children in adult bodies, unable and unwilling to make decisions for themselves or take responsibility for themselves.”

      God, every single day…

    • 0 avatar
      Domestic Hearse

      Energy drink marketing is positioned as exciting, exhilarating, and life fulfilling, and is marketed directly at youth (see X-Games, et al).

      Most adults — and a vast majority of kids — have no idea of the effect one can of Monster can have on a 90-lb adolescent. But one can is all it takes, in many cases, for that kid to end up in an ER with serious heart arrhythmia if not a full-blown infarction.

      Ask any ER doctor. S/he sees the effects of these drinks on children every day. And the parents, and the kids, will all respond, “I had no idea this could happen.”

      Is my position, or sentiment “Save the Children?” I’d argue it’s a request that Big Beverage (and the healthcare industry) reveal the facts, show the statistics, and require warnings about and education of these products. Because the effects of these drinks are being suppressed by Big Beverage, Inc no differently than how Big Tobacco — for years — denied and concealed the true nature of cigarettes.

      Make the truth known, provide information, and then yes, parents and kids can take responsibility. But when these products are the main sponsor for athletic events (healthy activities) and imply benefits of excitement, performance and energy, decisions are being made based on profit-first, BIg Beverage deceit.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        That’s an impressive manifesto and I side with you… I’ve seen their milder effects on 200 lb. young adults.

        But I still think racing events are about the last place an American kid will be exposed to their advertising.

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        Caveat emptor. It has been and will continue to be the way of the world. The strong do what they will and the weak accept what they have to. Any attempt to counter those truths is futile and will result in wasted effort on your part.

        And…w/r/t your marketing to youth statement. My rebuttal is that so is Scion, but the people that buy Scions tend to have gray hair and adult children. Reality is incongruent with marketing by design.

        I’ve noticed an interesting trend – more and more people seem to act in accordance with the belief that if a thing is said (or printed), it is true. As if the act of speaking or writing a number of words in a given sequence somehow transforms reality. In other words, they believe in magic spells. I interpret this as an indication that the population of humans with adult bodies contains a significant proportion of people with child-like beliefs.

        Reality is what happens, it ain’t what someone says.

        • 0 avatar
          Domestic Hearse

          “Reality is what happens, it ain’t what someone says.”

          2011 = 20,783 ER visits directly related to the consumption of energy drinks.

          10% of those ER visits by people 12 or older required hospitalization.

          Energy drink related ER visits and hospitalizations doubled between 2007 and 2011.

          This is reality. This is what happens.

          And w/r/t Scion appealing to old people, not the young target market: true. And an irrelevant herring, using one case of ineffective youth marketing to imply energy drink youth marketing (and perhaps) other attempts universally fail in their mission.

          As for Caveat Emptor and your somewhat Darwinistic interpretation of consumerism: Ralph Nadar and the entire private and government regulatory industry that followed would all beg to differ.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            21,000/130,000,000=a vanishingly small percentage. if you’re worried about kids drinking these things, wouldn’t it be more useful to lobby for a drinking age and restrict sales rather than hope that shutting down sponsorships will somehow reduce the overwhelmingly minute problem that you’re so concerned about?

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        I take it that no one has had Cuban coffee, that stuff will make your ears flap. There’s no difference in the effects between a can of Monster and a Grande Latte from Starbucks. If you start going after energy drinks then you’ll have to go after all caffeine. I, for one, do not want to deal with the ensuing epidemic of grumpiness

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I would like someone to look up the mg’s of caffeine in a grande latte and a can of Monster. I bet the Monster has 2x as much.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            140mg caffeine per 16oz Monster

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monster_Energy

            150mg caffeine Grande Caffe Latte

            http://www.caffeineinformer.com/the-complete-guide-to-starbucks-caffeine

            Even more interesting is Starbucks regular coffee grande has a whopping 330mg caffeine. The latte is the weakest coffee you can get at Starbucks

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Gracias!

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Np, caffeine junkies know their content

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Oh, and I will also say, that I feel the natural sort of caffeine in coffee is probably (to my mind) better than the chemically altered stuff in Monster. As well, coffee doesn’t have the other kinds of energy boost or concentration chemicals in it.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “better than the chemically altered stuff”

            Or the chemically “purer” stuff. Worked that way with weed, too. Pure THC gave many bad rushes in clinical trials compared to the complex and naturally buffered version in mary-wanna.

            I know from experience that No-Doz and other synthetic caffeines are much harsher and metabolically violent than good ol’ joe.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Here here, I’m going to pour myself some coffee from my Thermos to celebrate.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I’m on my third cup, think I’ll go put that addition on the house now

  • avatar
    shaker

    Look… The “energy” drink is nothing new (Mountain Dew – 50yrs), but the new generation of this swill is being marketed to younger and younger people, and the additional additives (taurine, etc) haven’t been vetted in smaller bodies – the industry is essentially exploiting a loophole to push sugar + caffeine (+ who knows what next) onto a population that has taken to sniffing magic markers to get high.

    The industry knows that what it’s doing is harmful to kids, so (like the tobacco industry) they’re embedding themselves into sports that are less-directly related to kids; that’s because they’re embedding the product into the brains of the *parents*. That’s where the money comes from for kids to buy this crap.

    Edit: What I’m essentially saying is that the success of marketing garbage leads to more marketing (which costs money) wash, rinse, repeat.

    How much does a $1.50 small Coke (or Pepsi) at McDonalds actually cost (minus the marketing)… 6 cents worth of syrup, 2 cents for soda water, 4 cents for the cup and straw?
    Billion dollar organizations built on caffeinated sugar water.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States