WARNING: Cocaine Is Not A Drug


In 2007, Las Vegas-based Redux Beverages LLC, under pressure from the FDA and state officials, renamed its premier product "Cocaine," (it's a helluva drink). Redux didn't cave quietly though, renaming the drink "No Name" and "Censored." The company did however, come back in 2008 with the "Cocaine" label.  

But in New Zealand this week, Redux lost another battle. This time to one of the most innocuous groups imaginable: the Kiwi platoon of the Salvation Army:

A complaint from the Salvation Army about an advertisement for the energy drink, Cocaine, has been upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority. …

The poster advertisement said: "Warning! You are about to experience the highest energy content of ANY energy drink on the market today…BE SMART DO THE DRINK."

The Salvation Army said cocaine was an illegal substance and by using the name cocaine, "the manufacturers and advertisers are legitimising cocaine".

"As people involved in the fight against the ravages of alcohol and drug addiction, we believe that this advertising and product name acts as a trigger to our clients and others who have alcohol/drug addiction problems."…

"Personally, I stand by my stance that anyone that really believes that our product content has any bearing to the drug really has to be a misguided soul" [said the drinks NZ advertiser].

The advertiser said that people did not associate "speed cameras" with the illegal drug speed, or "Coke" with the illegal drug cocaine.

The ASA said that although the product's name was permissible, the advertisement's "Warning!" was a cheap way to "trade off the properties of drugs…" Regardless, the posters were taken down in January amid the complaints, according to the NZPA article. The Salvation Army is now "asking" the company to change the drink's name.

The Salvation Army, however, was not admonished for trading off the properties of the military (the SA's glossary of terms here). The Sally's a helluva group, which does good work around the world. Their alcohol-free accommodations in Mumbai, India, are a wonderful place to enjoy a clean bed and a quiet drink alone. But they should stay out of the business of…actual businesses.

In 2001, Michael Lynch explained why the Salvation Army shouldn't take federal money. Cathy Young expanded on the argument in 2005. If a 280mg shot of caffeine to the gullet isn't your thing, enjoy the Belinda Carlisle Diet instead.