Energy Drink Puts Hair on Your Breath Brawndo started out as a fictional beverage in Idiocracy. Now James Kirby has turned it into a real energy drink — for those who dare.
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Energy Drink Puts Hair on Your Breath

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Energy Drink Puts Hair on Your Breath

Energy Drink Puts Hair on Your Breath

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Ever since E.T. ate Reese's pieces because M&Ms turned down Spielberg's offer, marketers have realized that product placement in movies is great publicity. Lately, it's been going in the other direction. Products that begin life as figments of the screenwriter's imagination have since been - have become available in your grocer's freezer, as they say. Some examples: Think of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, or Red Swingline Staplers. They were popularized in the cult film "Office Space," made by Mike Judge. Swingline didn't make a red stapler - because of "Office Space," they began to.

And now, a Mike Judge film has inspired another product. The film is "Idiocracy." It takes place in the future, after natural selection has basically eliminated smart people. The product - well, let's listen to the nice growling fellow.

(Soundbite of movie, "Idiocracy")

Unidentified Man: Brawndo, the thirst mutilator. It's like a Monster Truck you can pour into your face. It's got electrolytes. What are electrolytes? I don't know, but they're extremely awesome. And Brawndo was full of them. It may help plants grow, which is why you should drink Brawndo and not water, because water is from the toilet. And I've never seen plants grow out of a toilet. It's got caffeine, super extra caffeine, and five kinds of sugar, which makes it delicious and much better than other energy drinks that are not delicious.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: Brawndo, the drink from the film, is in real life, thanks to James Kirby, one of the makers and sellers of Brawndo. He's with Redux Beverages.

How are you doing, James?

Mr. JAMES KIRBY (Founder, Redux Beverages): Fine. How are you doing today?

PESCA: Are you charged? Are you psyched? Are you full of Brawndo?

Mr. KIRBY: I am.

PESCA: Okay. So here, I am a guy who watched "Idiocracy" and laugh. You watch it and says - and say to yourself, you know, brilliant. There needs to be a case of Brawndo in every home. How did the product come about?

Mr. KIRBY: Actually, you know, Brawndo was licensed from 20th Century Fox by a partner company of ours called Omni Consumer Products, which everybody may know from the movie "Robocop." So when…

PESCA: So the very name of that company was from another movie. I see the trend here.

Mr. KIRBY: Yes, yes. So, and this particular company, they take these products from movies that maybe fictionalize them and try to bring them to market. Omni Consumer Products also have a product called Sex Panther, which is a cologne from the movie "Anchor Man."

PESCA: Mm-hmm.

Mr. KIRBY: So this company approached us and - because we're an extreme beverage company and we sort of fit the model of how they wanted the product represented, they contacted us and asked us if we wanted to actually manufacture and market the drink for them. So that's how we got into Brawndo.

You know, we - Redux Beverages, we've had our own trials and tribulations over the last - with the FDA, and after having seen the movie and saw how Brawndo had taken over the FDA and the FCC so they could sell anything they wanted to, we knew we had to make the product.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: So in "Idiocracy," Brawndo sort of takes over the world. But one thing about the movie "Idiocracy," it's a cult film in an extreme way. It almost - it barely got distributed, and the film company was maybe a little nervous about its message. So I'm just wondering, in terms of a product from a movie that no one saw, why did you think that there might be a base of people to drink this thing if so few people saw the movie?

Mr. KIRBY: Well, I felt that, you know, the world is somewhat leaning towards an "Idiocracy" today. I think Mike Judge portrayed the country 500 years in the future, we sort of felt that maybe that was coming true today. And we felt that, basically, the way the trends are going, that the drink really doesn't need the movie. I mean, we could really just do a job of stupid marketing, and people would actually buy it. And so far, it's been very successful.

PESCA: So what you're saying is the "Idiocracy" is upon us.

Mr. KIRBY: Yes, I do. I believe that.

PESCA: Now, what - in watching the film, was there anything in the script or anything about the feeling of the film that suggested how the drink would taste?

Mr. KIRBY: Well, it was supposed to have a Gatorade-type taste to it, so that's what led us to the lemon-lime flavor. Brawndo is the first hybrid sports energy drink that's carbonated that's come out of the market. So, you know, it's sort of a new drink as well. So it's got the electrolytes, and it hydrates you and, you know, you can drink it before and after sports and still, you know, but still have an energy drink. So it's sort of a new type of drink as well, which Coca-Cola and a few other companies, they've already announced their hybrids that are coming out this year.

PESCA: Yeah.

Mr. KIRBY: We were just first to market.

PESCA: And it's green like it was in the movie. I guess if in the movie it was blue, it would have to be blue in real life, too?

Mr. KIRBY: Yes. And we wanted to make it as futuristic, as nuclear green as it possibly could. I mean, it almost looks disgusting.

PESCA: Right. Okay. You are in charge of marketing it, so you have to say almost. Okay. This is you on the spot. Define electrolyte.

Mr. KIRBY: Okay.

PESCA: What's an electrolyte?

Mr. KIRBY: Hmm.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. KIRBY: Electrolytes are salt.

PESCA: Okay. Because in the future, it seems like no one knows what an electrolyte is.

Mr. KIRBY: They don't. And what we - most people probably today don't know what an electrolyte is.

PESCA: So here's my - I got to ask you last one quick question.

Mr. KIRBY: Okay.

PESCA: In the future, Brawndo almost kills off humanity because they water plants with it. So it's kind of delicate, but do you worry about the negative associations, if this is the killer of all of us?

Mr. KIRBY: No. I think the demographic that drinks our drink think it's funny. And so, you know, that's part of the comedy.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: I get it. James Kirby of Redux Beverages, makers and sellers of Brawndo.

Thanks, James.

Mr. KIRBY: All right. Thank you very much.

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