Energy drinks are seemingly everywhere, particularly when it comes to marketing to younger audiences.
Industry leaders Red Bull, Monster Energy, and Rockstar have sunk some serious marketing dollars into the “international sports market, sponsoring athletes, events and video shoots in motorsports, surfing, snowboarding and skiing, mixed martial arts, and others,” according to the New York Times. Logos for the brands are appearing on athlete apparel and gear.
Two professional snowboarders had enough last year and started to make their own statement with a campaign, called "We Drink Water", against the energy-drink companies, including creating their own non-logo logo, “Drink Water,” on their boards. The slogan has taken off and now the two snowboarders, Bryan Fox and Austin Smith, have a website selling T-shirts ($30), sweatshirts ($60), jackets ($65), and sets of stickers and pins ($10).
“It all stemmed from when Austin was approached by a company,” Fox told the Times. “We began talking about how we should do something more positive than just be downers about something we don’t agree with.”
And the two fellas are putting their money where their mouth is as well, by donating 10% of all revenue from the apparel to the nonprofit founded by Matt Damon, water.org, which works to get clean water and sanitation in Africa, southern Asia and Central America. Fox and Smith will head off to Asia this month to snowboard and raise awareness of the Drink Water campaign. Along the way, the Times points out, they’ll compete in an event sponsored by Red Bull.
What’s their beef with energy drinks? It “stemmed from the drinks’ ingredients,” the Times reports, “which in addition to sugar and caffeine include guarana (a plant that contains caffeine), taurine (an amino acid) and ginseng, as well as the size of doses found in servings.”
However, the Drink Water campaign has a long way to go before it washes away any bit of the energy-drink market. Morgan Stanley recently reported that “energy drink sales increased by 12.5 percent during four weeks ended on Nov. 26, with Rockstar (up 30 percent) and Red Bull (15 percent) on top,” the Times reports.
“We’re saying, Do whatever you want,” Smith said, according to the Times, “but you can drink water and be just as cool.”