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May 17, 2007

Richard Florida

Extreme Marketing?

« XM Angers Creative Class Consumers | Main | We're Going to Need a New Term... »


PR Week asks:

The FDA has just pulled your edgy (read: irresponsible) product from shelves for being a little too edgy (read: dangerous). What do you do?

Posted by Rana

Do you apologize and pledge to improve your product's flaws? Perhaps you change your marketing to reflect reality in a way satisfactory to the FDA? Or maybe you ridicule the FDA, saying, "Of course, we intended for Cocaine energy drink to be a legal alternative [to cocaine], the same way that celibacy is an alternative to premarital sex."

Extrapolating from what you can surmise about the personality of a company that settles on "Cocaine" as a clever name for its nasty energy drink, you can guess which course of action was pursued.

The FDA's objection was not only to the name, but its marketing strategy, with slogans like "Liquid Cocaine" and "Speed in a Can."

But Clegg Ivey, a partner in the company that sells the drink (which is changing to an undetermined name as of press time), brushed off the concerns by asserting, "Our market, primarily folks from ages 20 to 30, they love the ideas, the name, the whole campaign. These are not drug users."

Ha ha! Drug users between the ages of 20 and 30? Preposterous! The FDA should have specified that the campaign targeted broke drug users because everyone with the cash to buy real cocaine would never waste their time choking down syrupy goop for a cheap caffeine buzz.

When your product is exposed as wrong-headed, drug-promoting, and illegal, it's best to go quietly. Don't act like some crackhead.

PR Play Rating:
1. Clueless
2. Ill-advised
3. On the right track
4. Savvy
5. Ingenious


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» When Is Extreme Marketing Too Extreme? from OODA
I dont often disagree with the folks at Creativity Exchange, but I have to on this post. I think this is an excellent example of extreme marketing. It’s not going to appeal to everyone - in fact it’s probably going to offend the majority of ... [Read More]


Michael Wells

These from Wikipedia:

1) The beverage was named Coca-Cola because, originally, the stimulant mixed in the beverage was coca leaves from South America. In addition, the drink was flavored using kola nuts, also acting as the beverage's source of caffeine. The first serving in 1886 cost US$0.05. Pemberton called for five ounces of coca leaf per gallon of syrup, a significant dose, whereas, in 1891, Candler claimed his formula (altered extensively from Pemberton's original) contained only a tenth of this amount. Coca-Cola did once contain an estimated nine milligrams of cocaine per glass, but after 1904, Coca-Cola started using, instead of fresh leaves, "spent" leaves - the leftovers of the cocaine-extraction process with cocaine trace levels left over at a molecular level.

2) Coca is a plant in the family Erythroxylaceae, native to north-western South America. The plant plays a significant role in traditional Andean culture. It was used by ancestor cultures as the Inca's Empire of Peru as a gift from the Gods, but is best-known in modern times for the stimulant drug cocaine that is extracted from its new fresh leaf tips in a similar fashion to tea bush harvesting.


Could be a good move. I saw this story a few weeks back. Now it is up here. I am not a PR pro, but they are getting more mileage out of the name than others in the exploding 'energy drink' market. Just my 2 cents

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