Updated: Mar 6
Rather to my surprise I have become swept up in the excitement over this new drink, Prime. Doubtless this is mostly due to having two young boys who are much more in tune with exciting things than I am. At first I thought, as I am sure lots of my generation do, that the whole thing was a bit silly, or worse.
But the marketing has been of such sophistication and skill that it will surely go down as a model for how to generate excitement and interest. It is the thrill of the chase, pure and simple. Nothing to do with the hydration drink itself, which is too sweet but, as far as I can tell, completely harmless. It's just water with a bit of coconut water, some fruit flavouring and sweeteners.
In our western world where almost everything is available all the time it is rare to experience the urgent need of having to search for a product, having to wait for it, having to hurry to get it. It is a sensation which I expect the jaded middle aged have not had for many years, and which is definitely a lot more fun than the drink itself.
Mary McCarthy wrote in the Independent that she 'loathes everything about Prime energy drinks'. Leaving aside that it is not an energy drink (the energy version is not yet available in the UK) her main argument appears to be that buying Prime is a step removed from 'monetising misogyny'. Why does she think this? The first step is to claim that some of the YouTube videos made by the makers of the drink, two social media stars, are shouty, aggressive and 'play on the insecurity of men'. This may well be true. But the second step is to claim that the fact that the “drink has been so popular shows that young boys are sitting ducks waiting to be told what to think.”
Isn't that a bit of a stretch? If we are seriously suggesting that being excited by Prime (whether searching for it, buying it, drinking it or sharing it) is likely to lead to misogyny then we really are in danger of losing perspective. We all know that there are layers of meaning and significance hiding behind commonplace words and objects and actions – and sometimes it is important to unpack those. But sometimes fun really just is fun, and we could all do with more fun in our lives.
By a strange coincidence, not long after writing this I read in the Observer (fun-free for many years) a much longer piece of serious analysis of the popularity of YouTubers rejuvenating the sport of boxing. Apparently even Krishnan Guru-Murthy goes to watch.