Politics and Energy Drinks
Gatorade’s decision to cut ties with Tiger Woods is the third major endorsement deal the golfer has lost recently. The news reminded me of another sports figure whose world also came crashing down. Remember Ben Johnson? Winner of gold, silver and bronze medals for sprinting in the 1980s? Winner of the Gold medal for the 100-metre sprint in the Seoul Olympics and heralded by Canadians as a national hero? Then Ben tested positive for steroids and everyone turned against the world’s fastest man. How quickly too his adopted country turned against him, with the Canadian media now referring to him as “Jamaican-born,” a far cry from the”Canadian hero” tag used to describe him previously Maybe you’ve seen him recently on the TV ads for the energy drink, “Cheetah, where the drink’s creator, Frank D’Angelo, asks Ben in a mock studio, “Ben, when you run, do you Cheetah?“”Absolutely,” says Johnson, holding up on of the cans. “I Cheetah all the time.” The double entendre between the world’s fastest land animal and someone who doesn’t play by the rules is deliberate.
In both examples, energy drinks play a key role in the lives of two men who fell from grace to disgrace. In Tiger’s case, Gatorade pulled its endorsement; in Ben’s case, Cheetah used his notoriety to bolster sales. The world of energy drinks doesn’t get more commercial than that.