Living Essentials, distributor of its high-selling 5-Hour Energy drink, is under review by the National Advertising Division, who says one of its claims is false, The New York Times reports. The ad watchdog says it’s been telling 5-Hour Energy to drop the “no crash” claim since it conducted a clinical trial run five years ago showed that the product resulted in a “moderately severe crash” in nearly 25% of users.
“We recommended that the ‘no crash’ claim be discontinued because their own evidence showed there was a crash from the product,” Andrea Levine, director the National Advertising Division, told the paper. The organization, which is affiliated with the Council of Better Business Bureaus, reviews ad claims for accuracy.
The probe comes amid increased scrutiny of the energy drink industry, including rivals such as Monster Energy, Red Bull and Rockstar energy drinks. New York state launched a similar probe last August examining how the drinks are made and subsequently marketed, particularly to impressionable children and teens.
Elaine Lutz, a spokeswoman for Living Essentials, told the Times a clarification included on packaging stating that “no crash means no sugar crash” had been added to address the concerns of the National Advertising Division.
In November, a government report linked soldiers’ consumption of energy drinks to sleep deprivation. For 5-Hour Energy’s part, the USDA said last fall that it had received reports of 13 deaths over the past four years in which the energy shot may have played a part.
Levine said Living Essentials had apparently decided to use the parts of the group’s report that it liked and ignore others. Companies “are not permitted to mischaracterize our decisions or misuse them for commercial purposes,” she said.
She said the group planned to notify Living Essentials that it was reopening its review of the “no crash later” claim. If the company fails to respond or provides an inadequate response, the National Advertising Division will probably refer the matter to the FTC, she said.