The National Advertising Division (NAD) an advertising watchdog has been for five years telling Living Essentials the maker of 5-Hour Energy to drop its ‘no crash’ claim. Apparently a five year old study showed that the product resulted in a ‘moderately severe crash’ in nearly 25% of users. An article earlier this month in the New York Times detailed the ‘dispute’.
I’m all for protecting the public from false advertising complaints but this situation seems to me to be completely overblown. If 75% of the people did not report a ‘crash’ severe or not, what’s the barometer? Do 100% of the people have to claim no crash? 86%? Drinks like 5 Hour Energy, Red Bull, and Monster Energy have become incredibly popular. Most people are aware that the drinks contain caffeine as well as some other ‘proprietary’ ingredients. People keep buying these products because legitimately or not, they feel that they work for them.
Personally I have had maybe one Red Bull in my life, never tried Monster Energy, Rockstar Energy, or 5-Hour Energy preferring to drink an old-fashioned cup of regular coffee or if I need a quick shot of caffeine an espresso. Both give me a lift and I’ve never even thought about or cared about the ‘crash’ factor. That the FDA disclosed it has received reports ‘over the last four years citing the possible role of 5-Hour Energy in 13 deaths’ but this becomes meaningless when the FDA report admits this does not mean the drink caused a death or injury. If there was proof that the drink caused death, believe me we’d have heard the news loud and clear.
The retail cost of these one-shot drinks is often over $2.00. A cup of coffee in most places costs less than that and has a similar amount of caffeine as a regular 5-Hour Energy bottle (an extra strength version is available with more caffeine). Since I like coffee I have no real desire or need for an energy drink but there are plenty of people who don’t like or cannot stomach coffee and energy drink products help them get through the day. Good for them.
I just don’t understand how the public interest is being protected here by the NAD and it seems as if there may be another agenda here. But I can’t figure it out – can you?