Here’s what you should be aware of regarding the excitement and the potential dangers.
What is Prime?
Prime, a label possessed by Congo Brands, headquartered in Louisville and endorsed by YouTubers Logan Paul and Olajide Olayinka Williams Olatunji, known as KSI, is among the three items marketed by the energy beverage.
“Revitalize, renew, and recharge.” While assisting in “fulfilling the space where excellent flavor intersects with practicality” and satisfying “Prime presents itself as a provider of athletic rehydration.”
Each 12 oz can contains a substantial 200 mg of caffeine, which is presented as “energy” on the ingredient label. However, the third product promises to aid in post-workout recovery by providing electrolytes and vitamins similar to Gatorade. Two of its products are specifically designed for that purpose.
The product’s warning on the back cautions individuals under the age of 18 or those who are “sensitive to caffeine.”
With regards to the brand’s online advertising, there is minimal visual differentiation between Prime’s recovery beverage and its energy beverages, most of which is presented through social media posts.
Both items can be found in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and the United States, being sold at approximately $2.50 per container, if you are able to locate them. They both come in vividly hued packaging, offering refreshing tastes such as “Ice Pop” and “Tropical Punch.”
Why is Prime so popular?
Since the launch of the brand’s products in 2022, astronomical mark-up prices for the drinks have caused shelves in the U.K. To fly off, gaining a cult-like following.
Rambunctious adolescent boys, however, for a collection of baby beanie prizes similar to the 2023 edition, fortunate Instagrammers have lined up to share images of empty Prime bottles.
When Prime was introduced in Australia earlier this year, numerous optimistic customers crowded the street, eagerly vying for a complimentary sample.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, the Arsenal Football Club, and the UFC have designated Prime as the official sports beverage. Prime is speculated to be considering a partnership with FC Barcelona to substitute its affiliation with Gatorade.
David Craig, a professor of social media communications at the University of Southern California, states that “this goes well beyond the value of drinking.”
Craig informed NPR that gripping a can is “a symbol of prestige” for Prime consumers. “It represents being part of a fan club, an indication of being a member of that community,” Craig expressed.
And that community is the one that has been constructed and maintained by the individuals behind the brand: Paul and KSI.
Who are Logan Paul and KSI?
If the real-life crowds of fans are any indication, teenage boys form a significant portion of those followers. The 28-year-old Paul and 30-year-old KSI, who are primarily recognized on their YouTube channels, have a combined total of over 40 million followers.
A man who had taken his own life faced backlash for posting a video of a dead body and for saying, “I’m going gay for one month only.” Controversy proved to be the key to his viral success, especially as he faced questions about pandering to a young audience. Even before Prime Minister Paul came on the scene, he faced criticism.
Craig states that the flagrant behavior of the boy is bad and the perpetual youth of this kind is appealing. He further explains that it is a behavior of adolescence-in-trapped, which they have successfully managed to sustain over the decade.
And it’s profitable, particularly when Paul and KSI collaborate.
KSI secured a point for a third; two individuals equalized according to the judges; concluding the boxing match as a majority draw. Prior to their meeting in person, they engaged in a heated exchange of insults on their respective platforms; the two were adversaries before becoming business associates.
They once again engaged in a battle in 2019, attracting significant attention from the national political arena after Paul’s comment that KSI had undergone “five abortions.” This remark prompted both factions of the abortion movement to express their opinions.
According to Forbes, the rematch resulted in each fighter earning a minimum of $900,000.
Looking ahead to 2022, the introduction of Prime generated $250 million in revenue, as reported by The Washington Post.
Establishing the Prime empire, Paul and KSI position themselves as the originators and decision-makers, attributing themselves as being possessed by Congo Brands, albeit under the Prime umbrella.
Why does Schumer want Prime to be investigated?
Schumer referred to Prime’s energy drink as a “pot of caffeine” that presented “significant health worries,” and he organized a press conference on Sunday, urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to examine.
Schumer described his announcement as partially a public service warning for parents, taking aim directly at how the product was portrayed online.
Schumer expressed, “While their children may be familiar with it, many parents may be unaware of it.” “This is due to Prime’s extensive promotional effort targeted towards children,” he further stated.
The 200 mg of caffeine is considerably higher than other energy drink brands, such as Red Bull (80 mg per 8.4 oz can) and Monster (160 mg per 16 oz can). Each 12 oz can of Prime Energy is equal to two cups of coffee or approximately six cans of Coca-Cola.
As per the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, there is no established, secure amount of caffeine for children. Kids below the age of 12 are advised to steer clear of all caffeine, while individuals between the ages of 12 and 18 are advised to restrict their consumption to approximately 100 mg.
The National Institutes of Health states that migraines and vertigo, loss of desire for food, queasiness and unease, insufficient sleep can result in excessive intake of caffeine at any stage of life.
Some schools in the U.K. Have initiated a ban on sugary beverages, and even before this action, Schumer had already issued a public warning. Following the arrest, the child reportedly underwent cardiac arrest in Wales.
In his letter to the FDA, Schumer outlined four major areas where he deemed the drink’s advertising, heavy social-media presence, eye-catching warnings and labels, and claims of boosting focus and athletic performance worthy of investigation.
“Prior to being sold in the market, the FDA confirmed that all countries complied with the legal limit of caffeine level in their energy drink, as stated in a shared statement by Prime NPR.”
The corporation stated, “to safeguard customers, we encourage dialogues with the FDA or any other institution concerning proposed modifications in the industry that they deem essential. Our utmost concern is the safety of consumers, as a brand.”
Will the FDA actually investigate? What could come of it?
The FDA told NPR late Monday that it had received the letter, is reviewing the concerns and will respond to Schumer directly.
The organization stated that it might cooperate with the Federal Trade Commission in terms of examining advertising assertions.
Currently, the FDA does not have specific regulations that impose monitoring levels of caffeine for companies that are responsible for self-monitoring under the intended conditions of use of cosmetic and drug food products, as well as specific energy drinks. However, the federal act on cosmetic and drug food, known as the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, applies to these products.
Perhaps the best precedent for how the FDA regulates risky caffeine products is the 2010 controversy surrounding Four Loko, an alcoholic energy drink that sparked outcry after dozens of young drinkers were hospitalized and sickened.
The beverages could potentially be confiscated under federal regulations, following the receipt of a cautionary letter from the FDA stating that the drink’s 156 mg of caffeine, when consumed with alcohol, posed a hazardous addition. The producers of Four Loko took the initiative to voluntarily eliminate it.