Energy Drinks May Follow Tobacco Sponsorship Into History

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
energy drinks may follow tobacco sponsorship into history

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.

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  • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Jun 13, 2014

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

    • Domestic Hearse Domestic Hearse on Jun 13, 2014

      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.

  • Turkina Turkina on Jun 13, 2014

    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.

  • 319583076 319583076 on Jun 13, 2014

    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.

    • See 14 previous
    • Lie2me Lie2me on Jun 16, 2014

      @Corey Lewis I'm on my third cup, think I'll go put that addition on the house now

  • Shaker Shaker on Jun 14, 2014

    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.