The Four Loko Chronicles: Getting Spun, Going Mobile and Beating the Ban

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There are some folks out there who think that the series of state-wide bans on alcoholic energy drinks like Four Loko was exactly the right thing to do--a perfect example of local government stepping in to protect us from ourselves. There are others who believe that this whole Four Loko shitstorm has been nothing but a knee-jerk reaction by state officials going mad with power--a perfect example of the Nanny State trying to protect us from ourselves.

But no matter where you come down on the issue, there's one thing you have to respect: the tenaciousness of the company that's been most visibly at the center of this story. Phusion Projects, LLC has (perhaps unfairly) borne the brunt of all the bad press surrounding energy beer. But they're also getting a windfall in free press and promotion among that most key demographic--underage or just plain stupid drinkers who think that anything out there that can hospitalize them, send them into a hallucinogenic fear frenzy or just plain tastes like drinking watermelon-flavored paint thinner must be cool.

And now, of course, Phusion Projects, is trying to capitalize on that (while also claiming it is terribly concerned about the responsible use of its product) with the release of its new mobile ap. Read on to find out all the details.

"It's called "Four Mobile" and it's being billed as a hand-held electronic responsibility promoter. What this amounts to, basically, is a Google search that passes for a "taxi finder," a statement on drunk driving, alcohol abuse and how they're both bad and a nifty "product finder" that points thirsty customers toward their nearest Four Loko outlet.

It's the latter feature that's the meat and potatoes of the app, as the taxi finder and warning are basically just window dressing used so the company can send out press releases."

That's the news right now over on the Daily Weekly, where the new "Four Mobile" combination product locator/taxi finder/public image fix-o-mo-tron is discussed. It gets an even more in-depth test drive at brandchannel.com, but the best and smartest thing that the Phusion Projects spin machine has going?

This, from a statement by Phusion Projects and its co-founder, Jaisen Freeman:

"Working closely with the New York State Liquor Authority and its New York wholesalers, Phusion Projects, LLC, the makers of caffeinated alcoholic beverage Four Loko, agreed to voluntarily cease distribution of its caffeinated products in the state, effective Friday, November 19.

Phusion will instead begin selling only non-caffeinated versions of its products in New York as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues its now year-long examination of roughly 40 caffeinated alcoholic beverage products on the market nationwide. As part of the agreement, the company will also support the state's alcohol education and awareness programs and has offered to work with the state on a continuing basis to improve and enhance them...'We still believe that combining caffeine and alcohol is safe - if that weren't the case, Irish coffees and rum and colas would be under scrutiny as well,' Freeman added. 'But we want our company to be known for cooperation and collaboration, not controversy.'"

Yes, that's right. When the fun police come in and tell you that your caffeinated energy likker is a danger to the dim, the halt, the tasteless and all the children of America, what's the very first thing you do? Release a caffeine-free version, baby! Which is the easiest possible way to get around the ban.

Point: Phusion Projects. What else you got, Nanny State?

 
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