When is it okay to advertise cocaine?

Despite the exhortations to not being ‘a mug’ and not living ‘on drugs’, does the deliberate choice of brand name normalise drug use?

Cycling home from work yesterday I happened to glance at the door of a corner shop close to where I live.

The advert that adorned the door was arresting.

At first glance it seemed to be for a Class A drug, but on closer inspection it turned out to be for an energy drink which uses the ‘cache’ of association.

I remember the small – and no doubt deliberately courted – explosion of outrage that the launch of the product caused in 2008.  And a bit of internet research suggests that the feeling here was perhaps less intense than was experienced in the US where the company were forced to change the name (at least temporarily) after pressure from the federal government.

Here, we clearly live in a more laissez-faire environment when it comes to controlling the marketing of these sort of products.

That said I’m left feeling very uncomfortable about the drink and the business ethics that it exemplifies.


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