Saturday, September 22, 2012

5 Hour Caffeine Beverage

If you're a human being who pays attention to human being things here in The America, in recent years you've witnessed and/or partaken in an exploding cultural obsession with increasing your personal energy. You may also know that increasing your personal energy is mainly achieved by guzzling canned beverages (with flavors like "Nasty" and "Battery Acid"), and today the market is flooded with more “energy drinks” than you can shake a can of Jolt Cola at.

But why the need for so much energy? I used to believe it was to make you a better snowboarder, but now it seems these drinks are mostly mixed with alcohol and consumed by single people who wish to stay up all night after work on Friday and fool themselves into believing that terrible club music is in fact part of a revelatory experience. Which goes something like this:

All told, there are a number of activities these drinks are drunk to enhance, and historically all of them were frivolous. But that's changing. The people at a company called "Living Essentials," makers of the energy drink "5 Hour Energy," are taking things further by trying to insinuate their product into the average person’s daily diet. Naming their company "Living Essentials" was apparently the first step towards that goal; the next was a blitz of TV ads.

Here, a generic, likeable dipstick attempts to convince viewers like you that 5 Hour Energy—essentially a vehicle for caffeine delivery—provides a longer-lasting boost of energy than does coffee, which is the reigning vehicle for caffeine-delivery. Even though it contains the same amount of caffeine. I guess we're supposed to assume that theirs is "better caffeine."

"Sleepy? Groggy? Dying for a nap? What do you do? Run for the coffee? ... But how long does that last—before you're back for more?"

That's the nice approach to win over coffee-drinkers: peer pressure from a non-threatening office colleague. But they've since moved to the harder stuff—their newer ads feature a stern cowboy-sheriff, who apparently holds jurisdiction over random job sites, where he mysteriously appears and intimidates people into throwing away their coffee.

In this one he talks over the protestations of two construction workers, saying things like, “How much coffee you fellows gonna need today—three, four cups? Doesn’t last long, does it?”

In another one—which can be viewed here, along with about 5 hours worth of other commercials for this stuff (it's the second ad on the page, as of this writing, anyway)—he shows up to bully a young office worker.

In this ad (which appears to be a prequel to the other one, wherein the young office dipstick first receives his energy-training from the master) the cowpoke bully is again in fine form:

"Another cup of coffee? How long's this one going to last—45 minutes? An hour?"

No, asshole, it’s going to last 5 hours, because it’s the same thing as the crap you're peddling.

Not only is 5 Hour Energy's magic power-boost NOT better than caffeine from coffee, it IS caffeine from coffee. This National Geographic multi-media presentation slide-show article-thing gives a fascinating glimpse—albeit a brief one, so's you don't have to do too much reading and junkinto the world of caffeine extraction. Though if your attention span is as short as mine you can click the "Fluffy Stuff" tab to skip directly to the part about separating the caffeine from the coffee beans—a process that evidently takes place in a sewage treatment plant.

Hours and hours of raw, unrefined, caffeine-slurry.

Now, I don't know how to extract it, but if you could separate out 5 Hour Energy's marketing bullshit from the ads I suspect it would also look something like that.

No comments: