5 Hour Energy: Like Coffee, But More Annoying

5 Hour Energy / Fair Use

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It seems I can’t enjoy my “Cake Boss” or “Say Yes to the Dress” without being annoyed by endless commercials for 5 Hour Energy. The commercials are so low in production value, and so high in performances by smug actors, that they’ve been nominated as “Worst Ad in America.” 5 Hour Energy lost that honor to the “Wow! That’s a Low Price!” commercial from Staples, but won 28% of the vote for “Most Grating Performance by a Human.”

Not only are the actors grating, the commercials themselves are just plain stupid. Really? You’re too lazy to make a cup of coffee? You can’t spend $1.50 or wait in line for 5 minutes? As the makers of 5 Hour Energy see it, if you are too much of a sad sack to drink/buy/brew coffee you should buy… wait for it… 5 Hour Energy! Think about it: if you drank five 5 Hour Energys a day, you’d have energy for 25 straight hours! Awesome! Especially if you have to stay awake for long periods of time, like a first-year resident or long-haul trucker.

But 5 Hour Energy has left the trucker market behind and is instead targeting office-workers who lack the time to pour hot water through ground beans. The problem is, 5 Hour Energy doesn’t even do what it claims, which is perform better than coffee at keeping people awake due to extra ingredients like taurine. Consumer Reports did an investigation and found that 5 Hour Energy has slightly more caffeine than the average cup of coffee, 207 milligrams. For comparison, an 8oz cup of Starbucks contains 180 milligrams of caffeine. But, Consumer Reports said, “We found little if any research showing that other ingredients on the label—including B vitamins and amino acids—would give the average person a boost.” I’ve made a little chart, below, comparing coffee to 5 Hour Energy. Also below, a video of one of their insipid ads. Enjoy!

                              Coffee                                    5 Hour Energy

Caffeine                  180mg/8 oz                             207mg/2 oz

Sugar                      None                                      None

Flavoring                 None                                       Assorted (e.g. berry, lemon)

Calories                   2                                              4

Cost                       around $1.50                            around $3

 

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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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