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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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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