Red Bull, Rockstar and Now Pimp Juice? Buzz-Infused Energy Drinks are a Window Into Young Men's Fantasies
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"Such combined use," ventures the Johns Hopkins study, "may increase the rate of alcohol-related injury." Ya think?
"Represent Crunk!!! on your college campus!!!" the drink company's Web site begs. "Introduce your friends to Crunk!!! Host Crunk!!! events! Become the Crunk-Master of your campus!!!" Participants in its "College Ambassador Program" are promised "free Crunk!!! Stix for finals." A hundred milligrams of caffeine is in each of these three-gram packets of powder, to be poured onto tongues Pixy Stix-style.
Wherever young men go, so do energy drinks. The Radioactive Energy Drink Bus Tour sent a 45-foot luxury bus sporting the company's hazard-symbol logo and "Catch the glow!" slogan to nightclubs nationwide, hosting ''glow parties'' featuring spokesmodels, reality-TV stars, go-go dancers and DJs. On the USC campus last year, Radioactive sponsored Global Game Jam, a 48-hour marathon video-game competition.
Gamers are prime energy-drink targets, and some drinks are made just for them. Mountain Dew scheduled the releases of its Game Fuel drinks to promote Halo 3 and World of Warcraft. Ryan Van Cleave, whose memoir Unplugged: My Journey into the Dark World of Video-Game Addiction will be published next month, was a steady customer during those addled years when his entire life was devoted to World of Warcraft.
"I simply drank the heck out of Rockstar and various high-energy ginseng drinks to the tune of about three liters a day," Van Cleave says. "What happens is that you end up skipping meals. ... Sure, you can choke down a Hot Pocket or some beef jerky once in a while since it's all portable, but most serious gamers I know simply chug soda and down energy drinks like they own stock in the manufacturing company," says Van Cleave, who remembers watching individual gamers downing entire 12-packs of Red Bull in single gaming sessions. The "massive crash" always came later.
"It wasn't uncommon for me during my heavy gaming years to pull a 30-hour session -- fueled primarily through energy drinks -- and then follow it with a 15-hour 'nap.'"
Meanwhile, Pimp Juice offers free song downloads. "Shake Ya Caboose" is playing right now.