Monday, 22 September 2008

CSR Nightmare for Sparks

From Slashfood:

"Sparks, the "caffeinated alcohol beverage with a blend of caffeine, taurine, guarana and ginseng extract," has been around since 2002 and has been owned by Miller since 2006, so it certainly isn't a new phenomenon. However, a number of questionable decisions recently have led to a massive backlash against the beverage and may well spell the end of alcohol/energy drink hybrids on the market.

General sentiment has been building that caffeinated alcohol beverages pose a risk to drinkers, especially for younger and underage drinkers who the beverages' detractors believe the products directly target. In fact, last summer, Anheuser-Busch received enough pressure that they eventually stopped making caffeinated-alcohol products. However, MillerCoors managed not only to slip by, but appears to have decided to do some flaunting.

First, the company announced they would be releasing Sparks Red this October, an addition to the Sparks product line that will have as much as 8% alcohol by volume -- a significant step up from the original Sparks' 6% ABV. Then there was backlash against what many considered to be a raunchy and unethical advertising campaign.

Well, they got publicity, but probably not what they were hoping for. As of yesterday, district attorneys from 25 states have called for the cancellation of the Sparks Red launch and, last week, the Center for Science in the Public Interest sued MillerCoors to stop selling Sparks all together. Public opinion seems to be shutting this industry down."

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