Energy drink companies have been one of the most attacked targets for their decisive marketing practices. This attack comes as a result of pinpointed advertising that makes lofty promises to susceptible youth. Many energy drink companies encourage young males to purchase their beverages by suggesting that their drinks have stimulant effects that increase endurance, performance, and attention. The most dominant companies in the segment are also partnering with organizations and individuals involved in extreme sports and activities in effort to increase their credibility as a stimulating and active beverage. As a result of these practices, both the media and the government have begun to disseminate and condemn these undertakings.
While the broader advertising patterns mentioned above try to appeal to a wide cross-section of the population, the advertisements featured here target a much more niche audience. The following advertisements come from Triathlete magazine. Therefore, one must take into account the typical demographic that reads Triathlete magazine when reading an overall evaluation of their energy drink advertisements. The most obvious yet most important fact about triathlete magazine is that triathletes themselves consist of the overwhelming majority of readers. As such, this makes the demographic of the magazine extremely homogenous in a quite few different ways. First, the readers are interested in maintaining an active lifestyle and place an emphasis on health. The readers also enjoy competition and are proficient swimmers, bikers, and runners. These readers enjoy discovering ways to increase their competitive edge over their peers. Finally, as training for a triathlon requires a lot of time and a sizable amount of money, these readers are at the minimum middle class and most likely tend to have sufficient economic security. This homogeneity makes is especially easy for marketers to design advertisements to place in Triathlete magazine.
The first advertisement comes from Now Spots and promotes their “L-Carninitine” energy liquid. This half-page print advertisement utilizes a molten inspired color palate that subconsciously highlights the vitamins and minerals used in their drink. The advertisement builds pathos by showing a pack of male and female triathletes participating in the running portion of the race. Within that group there is one man that is ahead of the others. The problem is that this gap is fairly subtle and it is not immediately clear that his lead is a result of his increased energy from drinking the energy drink. The audience of Triathlete magazine will be able to connect with the situation depicted and will strive to be the man in front. Additionally, this advertisement demonstrates ethos by describing the mission of the brand and by including the year in which the company was founded. Still, the overall layout and design of the advertisement is rather amateurish and does not leave the reader overly eager to go out and purchase the product. A final design flaw is that the disclaimer, that says the FDA did not verify the statements made in the advertisement, is the same size as the promotional text. The advertisement would be improved if this notice were incorporated in a way that was more obscure.
The second advertisement is from the company GU and promotes their energy gel. This is a full, two-page print advertisement. The majority of the ad is dominated by an image of a middle-aged lady who just competed a triathlon and is smiling with her hands in the air. The image is very zoomed-in and does not show any context of the race. The image features a small caption in the bottom left corner that says, “Miranda Carfrae, 3x IRONMAN World Champion, Fueled by GU and Roctane since 2010”. The main problem is that while this statement does build ethos, the connection between the product and her win is not prominent enough. On the left sixth of the page is the only portion of the advertisement to which the image does not extend. That small section contains the company logo, a small picture of the product, and the texts “Congratulations Rinny!” and “Great things come in small packages”. The way in which this entire section is planned out and integrated is very crude and unprofessional. The font choice, white background, and slogan are all very uninspiring and appear to have been chosen without much thought. That being said, the primary issue with this advertisement is that it does not offer the reader any information about the product or convey solid logos. The only knowledge the reader obtains about GU is that it is small and that a winning triathlete uses it.
The standout advertisement is from Gatorade and promotes their Endurance formula. One of the most noteworthy features of this ad is that it achieves a nearly perfect balance between text and imagery so that neither dominates the other and both work together in harmony. The layout consists of four equally sized images, each showing a runner in a distinct environment. This demonstrates pathos because most readers of triathlete magazine are able to make a connection to the advertisement when they see another runner. The way in which these images are arranged is very clever in that each photo leads the viewer’s eyes towards the center, where there is a perfectly sized picture of the product. Above the product photo is a slogan that is witty yet easy to grasp. The designers selected colors that are eye-catching yet show restraint. Likewise, the font that is utilized is sophisticated yet it maintains a contemporary flair. The advertisement conveys a sense of ethos through the quality and sophistication of the ad itself and by incorporating the Gatorade name. One of the most intelligent choices the designers included was information on where to buy the product. While all the ads take into account the demographic to which they are marketing to, this advertisement is definitely the exceptional one of the group as it is clear, professional, concise, informative, and cohesive.
Gatorade Endurance. Advertisement. Triathlete Nov. 2014: 22. Print.
GU Energy Gel. Advertisement. Triathlete Oct. 2014: 18-19. Print.
Now Sports. Advertisement. Triathlete Dec. 2014: 24-25. Print.