29
Nov
10

the product that was Four Loko

Nothing short of a phenomenon, Four Loko was a hit across college campuses nationwide. The alcoholic-caffenated beverage was seen has a sure fire way to have a good time, and taste pretty good in the process.

Those days are over.

The manufacturing company of the product, Phusion LLC, recently announced it was dropping the caffeine ingredient from the drink. A move that was suggested from colleges, parents and those who fell victim to the harsh results of over indulgence.

Funny thing about Four Loko, its nothing ground breaking.

The mixing of alcohol with caffeine and other hyperactive ingredients has been a part of late night culture at bars world wide. The popularity movement of the drink, however, indeed a force within itself.

Using little or no advertising the product gained its momentum from mouth to mouth grassroots movements across campuses. From its humble beginnings in Columbus, Ohio at Ohio State University, Four Loko began circles around the Midwest with displays and handouts similiar to the Red Bull cars that are seen at West Virginia University sporadically. From there, the stories and tall-tales began. Everyone wanted a piece of the action and the chance to experience it themselves. The convienence, affordability or drunken state all were the selling points that got Four Loko to become the PR monster that it was.

Now, although it was a vaiable alcoholic beverage it was far from unique. Anybody who has ever had “one too many” knows of the repercussions of being drunk. Those who partook in the Four Loko craze got a taste of that as well. Damaging reports stemming from all parts of the country created the image of Four Loko as a killer. From sick freshman at Central Washington University to a drunk driving death in Maryland, the beverage ceratinly had some targets on its back. In a damage control move, Phusion LLC released a statement with advising notes on how to use the product in a safe manner.

We share your commitment to addressing alcohol abuse and underage drinking.  We see it as both a fundamental priority and an ultimate responsibility that we share with the entire alcoholic beverage industry. In this vein, we would like to discuss ways we could provide direct assistance to your university to help further responsible drinking education on your campus. This support can be used to enhance the existing alcohol education assistance you provide, to help initiate new relationships with outside vendors providing this type of service, or to defray the costs associated with any current relationships you may have.”

I call it common sense.

The people at Phusion Products took it upon themselves to seek the approval of teh nation upon moving forward with their company. They were put in a tough position by the nagtive media coverage and had to take an evaluation with itself. Something had to be done or parents and college officials would be coming to their offices in mob fashion, guns a blazing with pitchforks. Because it was new and relatively unheard of Four Loko and Phusion caught a lot of unnecessary flack for the ill adivised decsions of the people who drank the product.

PRweek listed a poll on its website regarding the handling of the caffeine limits of Four Loko.

Was it a good move for Four Loko to announce it will remove caffeine from its products prior to the FDA ruling?

-Yes it’s always good to get out ahead of regulations
-It should have defended its product
-It will need to redefine its product and brand now
-Help, I drank two cans and I can’t type properly

Given those options a combination of 1 and 2 would have been the best choices. 58% of responders said its always good to get ahead of regualtions with 17% saying it should have defended its product. Phusion did the best of both worlds and defended its product while staying ahead of the regualtions.

While the steam engine that was Four Loko will be undoubtedly taking a back seat, the Fall 2010 run of the beverage will forever be remembered.

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