Energy Drink Promotion Raises Concerns
October 11, 2006 1:00 PM
Despite its arresting appearance, Go Girl’s promotional event beside the Cesar Chavez Student Center today garnered more than future sales, it has drawn a critical eye.
“The thing that upsets me the most is that they’re aligning the idea of femininity with being girly, pretty, flirtatious and thin,” said Kimberly Michelmore, 21, an SF State student majoring in child development and minoring in women’s studies.
What Michelmore referred to was the plush pink carpeting, white leather footstools and row of martini glasses filled with Go Girl’s hot pink energy drink propped atop a bar. This “beautiful energy lounge,” as the Go Girl’s press release described the scene, was complete with large banners that read “More jump less jiggle,” “Lipo Sucks” and “You’re sweet enough already.”
“They’re putting on a big front about it being all about women, but it’s all about sales,” Michelmore added.
Not all SF State students received the event in the same way. As late morning classes let out, herds of people lined up in front of the Go Girl bar eagerly awaiting their chance to grab a free martini glass filled with a sample of the energy drink.
“It’s pink, it’s bright, it calls attention,” said SF State student Phillip Estrada, a 24-year-old kinesiology major who stood at the edge of the Go Girl event, unsure if he would try the product.
“I don’t look too deep into it. It’s just another energy drink on the market,” Estrada said.
Juanita Chisler, 20, an SF State business administrative and marketing major, was one of those whose attention was called by the bright pink appearance of the event. After taking a sample of the drink, Chisler and a friend sat down to enjoy a free manicure offered to students by Go Girl. The only shades of nail polish available were pink.
“This is the biggest promotion I’ve ever seen on campus,” Chisler said. “We were going to get something to eat and I said we needed to stop. I wanted to see what was going on.”
Chisler also commented that the event was well designed, adding, “No college student is going to pass up a bar.”
But when asked if she felt the event’s hyper pink appearance and message represented her, Chisler said, “I don’t think that it’s me at all.”
Chisler’s friend and fellow SF State student Emma Deguzman, 20, agreed.
“I usually don’t go for things like these, it’s too commercial and it goes against my politics,” Deguzman said.
Deguzman also noted that Go Girl’s presence on campus had the potential to do some harm as well.
“To be on a campus like SFSU with so much diversity, it might anger some people,” she said.
Nonetheless, the two young women were drawn to Go Girl’s ad campaign.
“It’s smart, it’s really smart,” Chisler said. “It’s not just a booth someone set up outside, it’s a room.”
This is exactly what Go Girl intended.
“We’re trying to give an experience,” said Lisa Hovarth, Go Girl’s account executive. “We’re trying to reach out to the female audience and obviously some people are going to find it sexist, but we can’t please everybody."
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