Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Watch the NOS

Young Son Number Two went to the store the other day with a friend and both brought back bottles of the drink you see here. Son offered me a sip and, before I took one, I examined the label. This is NOS, a "High Performance Energy Drink." Anytime I see a drink like this, I want to know what they've put in it. This one has Taurine, L-Carnitine, Caffeine, Inositol, and Panax Ginseng, plus the requisite carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup and a variety of other ingredients. I was a little leary of Son drinking such, especially with all of the added supplements. I grew more leary when I read the warning on the back of the bottle: "Not recommended for children, pregnant women or people sensitive to caffeine." By looking at the second picture above, is it obvious to you that there's a warning on this bottle? If my camera would've allowed it, I would have given you a close-up, so you could see that the warning looks pretty much like the rest of the text with only two lines setting it off from everything else. "Product of Canada" and the "Cash Refund" lines are actually more prominent on the bottle.

I showed Son how to read the labels and told him that the manufacturers left off the age of the children who were not supposed to drink this and warned him that he shouldn't make a habit of buying the stuff.

When my husband saw the bottle, he practically shot off like a rocket, but for a very different reason. You see, he recognized the bottle and the word NOS as mimicking the Nitrous Oxide tanks used for adding extra power to engines. Nitrous Oxide is also laughing gas. People (kids!) have used it to get high. It is no accident that NOS Energy Drink looks just like a bottle of Nitrous Oxide - the logo for the drink is taken directly from Holley Performance Products, a company that sells Nitrous Oxide for engines.

Not having any experience with Nitrous Oxide for engines, I had no frame of reference for the NOS Energy Drink. Once my husband pointed it out to me, I thought, Holy Crap! This company is encouraging the confusion between an energy drink and the use of Nitrous Oxide as a drug. Of course, they'll swear up and down that that's not what they're doing, but who are they marketing this drink to? Not old fuddy-duddies like me. They're aiming for a younger audience, one that wants more power in their engines and wants to live on the edge. If someone offered our son a bottle of Nitrous Oxide at a party, he might just think it's the NOS Energy Drink and try it. That, my dears, is irresponsible and dangerous marketing.

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