Rockstar21 ‘Rocks’ For Ditching Their Confusing Cans!

rockstar-21.jpgLet’s hope this becomes like one of those airfare wars with a ‘me-too’ scramble from other beverage giants to follow suit and snag some of the parental PR and ‘corporate citizen’ kudos…

In the season of Thanksgiving, you might want to send a tip of the hat to Rockstar21 for “doing the right thing” and leading the pack by pulling their confusing energy-alcopop brand from the grocery store shelves, marketed alongside their ‘regular’ energy elixir.

Yeah, I know, their ‘party like a rock star’ theme is hardly a back-slapper to celebrate, but we try to applaud every iota of positive corporate role reversal that helps the big picture, even if it is for liability reasons or the tongue-waggin’ tales flying my way from industry tipsters.

Teenyboppers were popping the top on the joy juice right in front of teachers and parents, so clearly they were innocent of the alcoholic contents within.

How did it get sold to them? Again, market confusion…even the checkout stands and baggers didn’t blink…Coulda predicted that one. Oh yeah, that’s right, we did!

The Energy Fiend list displays the cans of caffeinated alcohol drinks for an easy glance to see ‘what’s what’ fast, and they also note why it doesn’t rate a slot in their vast database analysis of ‘all things caffeine’…

Energy Fiend says, “This is a site about energy… and alcohol is a depressant. The term “alcoholic energy drink” is an oxymoron. There is a large body of research showing that drunk person plus caffeine still equals drunk person…”

Yep. Invaluable resource on contents of these concoctions…as we always say, “Know what you’re putting in your body…”

For others interested in alcohol marketing masquerading as pop, Marin Institute is a wealth of information on these tactics, complete with an advocacy lever to take action, and youth orgs that take charge.

As for taste tests, Kellie Goodwin, a teen with the California Youth Council, gave law enforcement officers and teachers energy drinks, some with alcohol some without, to see whether they could tell the difference. Her findings?

“These drinks taste very similar to each other. Most adults we’ve found can’t tell which have alcohol in them…”

“On top of that, the alcohol industry labeling practices make it too hard to tell the difference between drinks that contain alcohol and those that don’t. It’s not surprising some parents are accidentally purchasing these items for their kids.”

As it is, Marin Institute reports 31% of teens 12-17 are chugalugging this stuff on a regular basis, and that’s NOT even tossing in the ‘oopsie’ switch of mistaking the cans with alcohol.

Some of the ‘regular’ energy forums reflect ‘truth or dare’ test-out mode and ‘she’s gotta have it’ addictive glee are enough to make parents cringe…

Then there’s the ultimate swig of irony…Marketers serving up energy drinks with a kick of cool and a dash of ‘supplemental nutrients’ and ‘boosts’ making it sound as if it’s ENHANCING health, rather than endangering it…ugh.

Need more reasons to remind kids that the whole caffeine/taurine jolt-the-bod energy drink bit is a lousy idea, even WITHOUT the alcohol buzz?
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Reuters recently flagged this new study linking energy drinks to high blood pressure and boost in heart rate, with ongoing commentary on thermogenics, functional claims, labeling issues and such…

Mind you, it’s a small sample size, (sheesh, we do energy drink counter-marketing gigs with quadruple that number of participants in just one session) but for kids it truly begs the “why risk trashing your health” question, ya know?

Despite media corollaries with coronaries (like this hypertension study of 546 4-17 year olds re: sedentary TV ties) it’s no surprise that children’s heart health is DEFINITELY relevant where energy drinks are concerned.

Here’s a balanced overview of “How Energy Drinks Work”…A must-read for media and marketing perspectives. HealthyFridge.org also has some great facts about heart disease and children too…(It’s my new ‘find’ for the day!)

Meanwhile, this fresh new data from the AHA scientific sessions showrisk factors for heart disease can be traced to kids’ BMI as early as age 7, so doctors are being asked to start testing kids as young as 3…

Check out AHA’s special site for kids grouped by age/activities, and their NFL themed tie-ins and freebies for heart healthy kids at “What Moves U.”

Guess we can no longer dismiss heart disease as for ‘older people’…

Energy drinks and risk prone kids with obesity issues put children smack dab ‘in the zone’ for heart health matters.

That thought in itself makes my heart hurt…

Bugged? Need to ‘do something?’

Lots of advocacy groups on substance abuse and marketing issues out there…And like I’ve said before, if you feel like some back talk, here’s a turnkey way to be heard with the FTC (thanks, Marin Institute, for these bilingual palmcards, and advocacy dos and don’ts) and here are many more resources from CAMY, (Center on Alcohol, Marketing and Youth) to take action.

p.s. Collegiate crew, here’s more info on what happens when energy drinks are combined with alcohol/impact on your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) as well as a BAC calculator, some tips for managing/hanging out with drinkers when you’re not drinking, and other useful links negating the ‘rite of passage’ bit, from Brown University’s health ed site.

A Few Other Energy Drink Articles by Shaping Youth

Hey, Kids, Your “Energy Drinks” Now Come With Alcohol

Maxed Out on Energy Drinks? Diet Pepsi Max Says Wake Up People!

Sugary Sodas Falter, Now Caffeine & Sodium Rule

Peer Driven Junk Food Allure & What’s Cool to Kids

Cocaine In A Can, Coming To Teens This Fall
(update: mandated name change)

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