Jeff Pearlman

  • Twitter Icon
  • Twitter Icon
  • Twitter Icon

Life, Death, 5-Hour Energy

Earlier this evening, while working out at the gym, I caught the above advertisement on the ol’ TV. Take a second and watch it.

On the surface—bravo! The Special Operations Warrior Foundation is an amazing charity; one that has made sure thousands upon thousands of children of deceased military members receive a 100-percent paid-for college education. I mean, there aren’t many charitable endeavors as worthy as this one. There’s nothing political or slimy or anything. It’s just a tremendous cause.

So, again, great, great, great work by 5-Hour Energy, which has partnered with the charity to bring awareness and raise dough. I mean, it’s about time a corporate entity put people first, and here—before us—5-Hour Energy is doing just that by ma—

Bullshit.

Yes, bullshit. I’ve written about 5-Hour Energy before, and now I’m writing about 5-Hour Energy again—because somebody needs to. Do me a favor and watch the advertisement again. Hell, watch it twice. Notice anything? No, not the courageous widows of courageous lost soldiers. No, not the (egad) stars-and-stripes bottle of 5-Hour Energy. I’m talking about this—exactly 18 seconds into the spot …

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 11.58.09 PM

See the words at the bottom of the screen shot? Right—neither could I. So I zoomed in, then zoomed in again. And what they tell you is that, with every bottle sold between May 1 and July 31, 5-Hour Energy will donate five cents to the charity.

A friggin’ nickel.

The not-so-good folks at 5-Hour Energy will tell you nickels add up, and—to a certain degree—they’d be right. The small print also tells you the drink company will make a minimum (aka: probably this exact amount) donation of $200,000. Which sounds sorta big, until you remember that A) this is a billion dollar corporation (5-Hour Energy dominates about 90 percent of the national energy shot market).; B) A four-year education at your average American private university these days runs about, oh, $200,000.

Now here’s what the folks at 5-Hour Energy won’t tell you:

• That, instead of buying a $1.75 energy drink that’ll result in five big cents going to charity, you could just skip the damn beverage and donate the full two bucks to the cause.

• That there’s something beyond sinister in having the widows of soldiers hold up photos of their loved ones so you can move product.

• That there’s no way in hell 5-Hour Energy does this campaign if there’s no big money in it for them; that it’s a corporate win-win in that it generates sales and generates amazing PR out of, again, milking dead soldiers.

• That $200,000 is a drop in a drop in a drop in a drop in the bucket for 5-Hour Energy.

Seriously, this drives me insane. I’d rather lick the sweaty testicles of a herpes-infested bull (and I don’t aspire to lick sweaty herpes-infested bull testicles) than buy anything from 5-Hour Energy.

I hope you feel similarly.

  • Sanford Sklansky

    Pretty bad, but I am guessing this is not the only company that operates in this manner.

Showtime Book
Love Me, Hate Me Barry Bonds Book
Sweetness Walter Peyton Book
The Bad Guys Won Book
The Rocket that Fell to Earth Book
Boys Will Be Boys Book

Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life