Featured, Society & People

Five-Hour Energy’s Exploitation of Breast Cancer

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of ads promoting the new Pink Lemonade Five-Hour Energy drinks. The commercials make heavy use of the fact that Five-Hour Energy is giving a cut of the proceeds to charity in an effort to convince viewers to purchase the energy drink. While a partnership between a charitable organization and a billion-dollar company has obvious benefits, the benefits are not as mutually beneficial and one would expect.

There’s some small print that flashes about halfway through the commercial that reads, “a minimum of $75,000 has been donated to the Avon Foundation for Women’s Breast Cancer.” The ad also states that a percentage of future proceeds would go to the charity. I don’t know about you, but I saw a red flag when I looked at that number.

$75,000 seems a little low for the endorsement of a charity. That’s a small fraction of the price of a Super Bowl ad and an even smaller fraction of what it would take to get a major celebrity endorsement. Yet, Five-Hour Energy secured the marketing services of an organization that has emotional ties to millions of Americans.

Five-Hour Energy makes around a billion dollars in revenue each year, depending on what your source is (although the lower figures are not significantly different). You’d think that a company with that much dough could cough up some more money for a good cause, let alone one that they were going to make the centerpiece of a new marketing campaign. $75,000 isn’t even an impressive number for a Celebrity Apprentice task.

Many charitable organizations make use of phrases like, “every dollar counts toward a cure.” While I certainly believe in this, I also think that Five-Hour Energy should be paying significantly more money to spotlight the Avon foundation. Millions of dollars would go a lot farther toward finding a cure than a mere 75k.

I think that Five-Hour Energy is the less appealing product of what would happen if you dissolved a Flintstones vitamin into a cup of coffee, but I understand that the drink is quite popular. People should be conscious that the Avon foundation should have no impact on whether or not they choose to purchase the drink. If $75,000 is the starting point, we cannot expect a big percentage of the profits to actually go toward fighting Breast Cancer.

America is the most charitable country in this world. Part of what makes this country great is the internal desire of our people to make the choice to help others in need. Sadly, Five-Hour Energy has decided to try and exploit the goodness of the American population with this scam. The executives at Five-Hour Energy are exploiting charity to make money. There are plenty of ways to show your support for the Avon Foundation. Buying Pink Lemonade Five-Hour Energy drinks is not one of them.

One Comment

  1. The Colonel

    Dr Malone deserves a round of loud applause for skewering this scam, That commercial has the unctuous smarm of some sleazy televangelist urging the rubes that ‘good luck’ and Divine favour will be theirs if they send him some cash. And Dr Malone points out the signal words that warn of scam and hypocrisy: “some portion” of the profits, eh? How much is ‘some’ – – 50%, 99%, 1%, 0.0002%? “Some” means in effect nothing at all.

    What may be even worse is the bogus tacit association between a terrible medical problem and an ‘energy’ drink, which is probably about as healthy as an intravenous feed of Starbucks’ caffeine-reinforced coffee.

    Bravo, Dr Malone!

    PS: Perhaps next the Doctor will take on another annoying scam: those ‘greenwash’ cards you get in hotels saying that “WE” care about the environment and so “WE” would prefer not to wash your sheets and towels every day (but of course not to pass on the money “we” save by not doing it to you, but rather pocketing it in the same of some bogus environmental concern.

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