Drink sparks off controversy

Screenshot from: http://www.sparks.com

Screenshot from: http://www.sparks.com

I’ve heard it said that any publicity is good publicity – as long as you can repair the damage when it’s not positive. I wonder if SABMiller agree.

In the states, their brand “Sparks” has been creating a ripple or two. Critics and lobbyists keen to nip teenage drinking in the bud claim the company is deliberately targeting young people addicted to energy drinks and pick-me-ups and making the problem of drink-til-you-drop partying worse. How? By extending the brand into alcholic beverages. And not just any alcoholic beverage: this stuff is 6 to 8%.

The attorney generals are on to it. The really don’t like Sparks Red, as they target teenagers and young drinkers already drawn to highly caffeinated drinks like Red Bull.

The mega-corporation behind Sparks obviously disagrees. For them it’s an attempt to extend the brand and steal volume off the competition. After all, if that’s the trend on the market, why not go with the trend?

As their spokesman was keen to emphasise: “The brand and its labelling have received approval from the federal government […] While we continue to work with authorities on this issue, as well as our own responsible drinking initiatives, we are also protecting our right to innovation.”

Alex Woodruff

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