A beer made for those who'd rather be doing heroin and cocaine

Posted on Thu Jan 22 2009

Speedball copy

Seems like every consumer beverage and his mother dreams of being a potentially fatal drug cocktail these days.
  First, there was Cocaine, the energy drink that boasted three and a half times the caffeine of Red Bull, and was pulled from store shelves by the FDA for being marketed "as an alternative to street drugs." Then there was Drank, the "relaxation drink" evidently modeled after purple drank, a notorious mixture of cough syrup and soda. And now we've got Speedball, a British beer whose name refers to the sometimes lethal combination of heroin and cocaine.
  Sure, these brands are leeching off the supposed glamour and street cred of illegal drug use. The trouble is, from a branding point of view, the names overpromise. Anyone who enjoys actual speedballing is likely to be underwhelmed by the brew's less potent mixture of guarana, Californian poppy, kola nut and Scottish heather honey.
  Not that they'll even get to try it. The brand is facing a sales ban for "profiteering from the scourge of illegal drugs, mocking the misery caused by misuse."

—Posted by Tim Nudd

Relaxation drinks seem to have some trouble just kicking back

Posted on Mon Jan 5 2009


Forget energy drinks. They're so 2007. What you really need in these tumultuous times is a relaxation drink. In a bit of marketing counter-programming, that's what the makers of new beverages like ViB, Blue Cow and Drank are calling themselves. The latter, which Rob Walker profiled in The New York Times Magazine on Dec. 31 (and which AdFreak mentioned last June), seems to play on the lineage of "purple drank," a potentially fatal mixture of cough syrup and soda, though Drank inventor Peter Bianchi has disputed that. Another relaxation drink, Purple Stuff, dropped the tagline "Lean with it" after critics said the phrase was associated with the soda/cough-medicine mixture. It's all a bit of unwanted controversy in a category that can be seen as a healthier alternative to alcohol. But there's another big problem with the emerging category: "Relaxation drink" sounds awfully close to "relaxant," a synonym for "laxative," leaving one to wonder if Blue Cow is actually producing Milk of Magnesia.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman



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