Our beloved Brew.

Our beloved Brew.
R.I.P. Big guy.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

5-Hour Energy

It isn't often that I see an add I admire, but 5-Hour Energy has one. How refreshing to see an ad that skips the hype, the breathless announcer, phoney actor portrayed situations, to give us straight talk. This ad tells me what's in the product (all natural ingedients, even using a mug to depict the amount of caffinne in one bottle, which they claim is equal to a cup of coffee), and what's not in the product.

I love the fact that they urge you to try a half bottle of the product, to see how it affects you, and urge you to decide then, if the product is right for you.

I am not presenting this post as an endorsement of the product. However, I can say I used 5-Hour Energy, pretty much the way the maker suggested. Last winter, I was outside Dayton, Ohio conducting a client workshop on brand strategy. Because the client wanted to conserve time for their people, we consolidated two days of content into one long day. The session started at 7:30 am and wrapped up around 6:15 PM. I was on my feet and presenting/facilitating almost without stop for the entire time. At the end of the session, I was exhausted. I still faced a more than four-hour drive back home to get a few hours sleep before rising again at 4:00 am to catch an early flight out of O'Hare to be with another client. Even with the time zone benefit of picking up and hour, I didn't have much time to rest.

Winter darkness had descended and snow started to fall as I got to the parking lot. Although I'd never tried the product before, I decided to see if 5-Hour Energy really worked. Wanting to be extra careful, and not being a regular coffee drinker, I chose to take a sip that amounted to a little less than half the bottle. Within the first hour of the drive, the snow was coming fast and furious. But I found I was feeling refreshed and alert. I wasn't experiencing the "buzz" I was expecting from the caffeine -- just a natural sharpness. I didn't even need another sip.

Despite a pretty awful winter storm, my little five-speed sports car held the road well, and I got home safe and sound. I went straight to bed and found I had no trouble getting right to sleep. I awoke fairly exhausted, but on time, to learn the storm, which dropped over a foot of snow on Indiana, had subsided. Illinois (and O'Hare) were untouched by the storm so my flight got out on time, with me aboard.

It's important that I remain on top of my game when conducting workshops, speaking engagements, and facilitating events for clients. I can't afford to be distracted, or even slightly out of sorts. If 5-Hour Energy had even the slightest negative effect on me, that would have been the first and last time I used it. Now, I carry a bottle of 5-Hour Energy with me to all my speaking engagements, presentations, and workshops. In the past eight months, I have used it one other time in the middle of a two-day seminar that called for me to do two ten-hour sessions. Again, I took a small sip, and felt no side effects.

I tell you of my personal experience not to promote the product, but rather to reinforce the manufacturer's decision to encourage people to learn what they are taking, and to take it with caution so they can gauge their own tolerance and the usefulness of the product.

Responsible advertising works. I applaud the makers of 5-Hour Energy for taking such a responsible approach and avoiding the current trend in advertising to over promise, be overly clever, or go for some quirky gimmick to attempt to attain work-of-mouth.

Remember Clara Peller and "Where's the beef?" It had everyone talking in the 80's about Wendy's ads and created a phenomenon of its own. The next pertinent questions should have been "Where's the Wendy's?" The ad campaign got the nation talking, but did little to boost sales relative to the increased ad budget, simply because Wendy's real estate strategy was to build stores in less than desirable locations. As clever as the campaign was, people weren't willing to go out of their way to find a Wendy's. At one point, JC Penny's considered acquiring Wendy's as part of its diversification strategy. The retail giant walked away after taking a look at Wendy's books, seeing the campaign created a lot of PR, but not nearly the level of sales people were claiming.

Kudos to the makers of 5-Hour Energy and the advertising people involved for having faith in their product and the ability of the buying public to decide.