Up On The Coke Box

Okay, personal confession time.

I’ve sampled Cocaine. It wasn’t bad. Sure woke me up pretty good, although I did feel a bit skittish after trying it.

But hey, you’d expect that of an energy drink containing nearly 300 milligrams of caffeine.

What you wouldn’t expect is that said energy drink would also wake up the twin sleeping giants of the press and politics, but inside, we’re all addicts. Some of us are just addicted to the sound of our own righteous indignation.

Within weeks of the product’s release, we’ve seen Cocaine maker Jamey Kirby on CNN, ABC, and in various newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times. We’ve heard about it from New York City politicians and the ladies on The View, who had the good sense to treat it with humor.

Kirby’s eating the publicity up and spitting it out in profit. We don’t think it can continue, because the drink is only so-so, but we do believe that Kirby came up with a great way to get cheap marketing, which is exactly what he wanted. The more people who pile on, airing their disgust, the more the avalanche of attention will grow for Cocaine.

From what we’ve seen of Kirby, he’s slick enough to say the right things about not promoting drugs, having a sense of humor, and warning pregnant women and kids about caffeine. The same can’t be said of the television anchors who use their interviews with him to fill the end of the broadcast hour, usually with questions based on a sense of morality felt principally by straw men.

If there’s going to be moral outrage here, it should be directed toward those who further Kirby’s plans by taking his bad taste and serving it up as a juicy story.

Only a tiny number of retailers even carry the stuff right now; once the din quiets, it is unlikely Cocaine will do much more than join a group of similarly-named energy drinks that have unsuccessfully used bad taste in marketing to compensate for bad-tasting product. Whether it succeeds or fails, it’ll likely do so based on its ability to compete with other drinks.

Unless, that is, our colleagues in the media – and the politicians they cover – continue to feed their addiction to outrage.

Meanwhile, we’re addicted to all kinds of drinks this month: gourmet sodas, unorthodox wine containers and sports drinks among them. Read on and enjoy.