During my daily crawl of nytimes.com, I ran across an article about a new product that’s supposed to be the antithesis to the energy drink; a “relaxation” drink. Called “Drank,” the carbonated beverage is designed to calm your mood and put you in a relaxed state.
The whole design of the product is modeled behind the idea of “lean,” “syrup,” or “thizz,” all slang term for a cocktail usually containing promethazine and codeine. The name of the beverage, “Drank” is an offshoot of a nickname for syrup, “purple drank”. The product’s ingredients are pretty harmless, containing valerian root, melatonin, and rose hips. However, the marketing of the product is dancing the line of being trifling for me.
I take issue with this because though the drink itself is probably not very potent, the imagery behind “Drank” has much to do with syrup sipping, and syrup sipping kills people. Rest in peace to DJ Screw and Pimp C. I personally know people who have fallen asleep to never reawaken after syrup sipping, and it isn’t sexy to glamorize this activity to promote a carbonated beverage.
The marketing behind this product is very similar to that of an energy drink that came out a couple of years ago called “Cocaine.” The whole idea is to garner attention by associating the product with a popular street drug, and it works, based on shock value. NY Times is writing about it, and so am I. I’m all for compelling and innovative advertising campaigns but I think ethics needs to come into play on the part of the marketers, because associating a product with something that kills people is not cool.
It’s bad enough that hip hop artists are already in the business of glamorizing syrup sipping. But I ain’t gone lie, Three Six Mafia’s “Sippin’ on Sizzurp” used to knock. Oh, the ambivalence of it all.