A decision condemning Demon Energy Drink’s marketing methods highlights the lengths corporate interests will go to hook Kiwi kids on their products, Green Party Food Spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.
The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint from Ms Kedgley regarding the way Demon Energy Drink’s website used images and language to market Demon to children, in breach of the Code for Advertising to Children.
"This decision sends a message to advertisers that there is a limit to the way they can deliberately target children to try to hook them on their products," said Ms Kedgley.
The ASA found that Demon's website encouraged the purchase of high caffeine and sugar drink products that are inappropriate for children, and that Demon advertising did not observe the high standard of social responsibility required of advertising to children.
It also decided by majority decision that the Demon website could encourage the purchase of a product that was inappropriate for children and actively encourage children to consume it inappropriately.
"I believe their advertising is socially irresponsible and is aimed at getting young children hooked on their high caffeine, high sugar drinks at the earliest possible age," said Ms Kedgley.
"The aggressive advertising tactics being used by companies like Demon were encouraging a generation of kids to become addicted to high caffeine energy drinks.
"Caffeine is an addictive drug and children are particularly susceptible to its effects. Children who drink high caffeine energy drinks can become hyperactive, nervous and have difficulty sleeping."
Ms Kedgley said the availability and heavy promotion of energy drinks was likely to fuel teenage addiction.
"A can of energy drink consumed by a child is the equivalent of two or three cups of coffee drunk by an adult. Due to children’s smaller body weight, the effect of the caffeine hit is even more pronounced," said Ms Kedgley.
"A 60 ml shot of Demon Energy is the equivalent of 4-5 cups of instant coffee. It contains 200 milligrams of caffeine and 2000 mg Taurine and Guarana."
Ms Kedgley said it was now time that the NZ Food Safety Authority closed a loophole that allowed Demon Drinks to circumvent the upper limits for caffeine by selling their high caffeine products as ‘dietary substances’.
Link to the ASA decision: