SENATORS QUESTION ENERGY DRINK MANUFACTURER OVER TOYS FEATURING ROCKSTAR ENERGY LOGO

For Immediate Release

Contact: Christina Mulka (Durbin) 

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Giselle Barry (Markey) 

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In Senate hearing this summer, COO & CFO of Rockstar Energy repeatedly denied marketing to children

 

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - After evidence of several toys featuring the Rockstar Energy drink logo was brought to their attention by a concerned consumer, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (DIL), John D. Rockefeller (DWV), Richard Blumenthal (DCT) and Ed Markey (DMA) again questioned the energy drink manufacturer about their marketing efforts directed toward children - a practice Rockstar Energy has repeatedly denied.  

 

"Despite statements from your company that Rockstar, Inc. does not market to children, examples of what appear to be targeted marketing of your products to children have come to our attention.  Most recently, we found that Ronin Syndicate, a toy manufacturer, is selling a Rockstar Energy Drink RC Wakeboard Boat toy on store shelves and online," the Senators wrote.  "Please provide a written response explaining why Ronin Syndicate is selling toys that prominently display the Rockstar Energy Drink name and logo, whether and to what extent similar other toys feature Rockstar Energy Drink's logo, and what steps your company is taking to prevent this type of marketing in the future."

 

The Senators recently found that toy manufacturer Ronin Syndicate advertises a product line featuring the logo of Rockstar Energy and according to its packaging is intended for children ages 8 and up.  In addition, the product is sold by Target, and in one instance the toys were found to be positioned with other toys on store shelves. These findings call into question statements made by a representative of Rockstar, Inc. in a July 2013 hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee chaired by Rockefeller.  In the hearing, convened to examine the potential health risks of energy drinks and the marketing of these productsto youth, the company's COO and CFO, Janet Weiner, said in her statement that Rockstar's target demographic is persons 18 to 35 years of age and their company does not market products to children under 12 years of age.  

 

Earlier this year, Durbin, Blumenthal and Markey released a report that shows inconsistencies in the labeling and classification of energy drinks, extensive marketing to adolescents and young adults through social media and events, and high caffeine levels that exceed the level considered safe in soda by the Food and Drug Administration. The report was compiled using responses from fourteen energy drink companies.

 

Text of today's letter is below:

 

November 14, 2013

 

Russell Goldencloud Weiner

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Rockstar, Inc.

101 Convention Center Drive

Las Vegas, NV 891092001

 

Dear Mr. Weiner:

 

            We write to express our concerns about the marketing of Rockstar, Inc. energy drink products to children.  Despite statements from your company that Rockstar, Inc. does not market to children, examples of what appear to be targeted marketing of your products to children have come to our attention.  Most recently, we found that Ronin Syndicate, a toy manufacturer, is selling a Rockstar Energy Drink RC Wakeboard Boat toy on store shelves and online.  On the Target website this product is featured in the "toy" section with a manufacturer's suggested age of "8 years and up."  Additionally, the website for Ronin Syndicate features several other toys with the Rockstar Energy Drink name and logo.

 

Over the past few years, there has been growing concern about the potential health risks posed by energy drinks.  The Food and Drug Administration, with support from the Institute of Medicine, is conducting an investigation to strengthen its understanding of energy drinks and the health risks posed by these products, particularly for vulnerable groups, including children and adolescents.  Further, a hearing on July 31, 2013, before the United States Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee explored concerns raised by medical professionals and public health experts about the potential risks associated with the consumption of energy drink products by children and teenagers.   

 

In light of public health concerns regarding the consumption of high levels of caffeine by children and adolescents, we are deeply concerned by the marketing of a Rockstar toy.  Please provide a written response explaining why Ronin Syndicate is selling toys that prominently display the Rockstar Energy Drink name and logo, whether and to what extent similar other toys feature Rockstar Energy Drink's logo, and what steps your company is taking to prevent this type of marketing in the future. 

 

Sincerely,