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Mikee

Are red bull athletes immoral?

58 posts in this topic

The environment can effect health, yes. But what sport has anything to do with being environmentally friendly? And what sports are causing large impacts on the environment? 

I don’t really get your point. The thread is about idolised athletes getting paid to promote an unhealthy product.

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I keep reading "immortal". :P

No, I don't see them more immoral than anybody else in our society really.

I do wonder how much of RedBulls income is actually directly from the sale of the drinks? I'm sure they also have other ways to make shedloads of money by now.
Even considering how overpriced* those cans are I'm sure it wouldn't be enough for all the events they sponsor, F1 isn't exactly cheap either etc.
*I'm not sure why someone would buy a can tbf, simply based off their price compared to a supermarket energy drink costing about 1/5th of the price.

If you want to take nature into account RB and the athletes will be immoral, simply because of the events they but on, and then there's the whole can recycling (or not recycling) thing too.
But I feel like think the sponsorship things is that much about the drink anymore anyways, sure they have their product placement in videos and all, but I feel like the can itself has become an object to carry advertising of the brand, and not of the product.

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No one asked, but here's my opinion.

The way I see it, their main purpose (one would assume) is to sell drinks to profit themselves, but is it? They spend thousands and thousands on video projects to stick on youtube as what; an advert? publicity? or just because they are supporting high level athletes mastering their craft and they want to share it?. I may be naive in thinking this but i do genuinely believe that they are trying to support extreme sports and show off some incredible humans. Bringing it back to trials, the sole reason I got into trials was after watching Way Back Home 8 or so years ago and I was hooked. Since then I've kept at it, its led me onto mountain bikes and now its safe to say i'm an addict of the whole sport (apart from XC, don't like lycra :P). Athletes such as Danny, Gwin, Finn Iles, Fabio, Richie Rude, Semenuk ect have continually given me motivation to ride and keep pushing myself to get better at the sport I love. Since seeing that video years ago i have bought a single can of redbull, I drank half of it (if that), didn't like it, threw it away. Haven't even considered buying another despite the fact that my 'heroes' and people I look up to are all supporting that brand and possibly drinking it. When I see a red bull helmet I dont think 'ENERGY DRINK' I think more that there is someone who is pushing the sport.

Also think about how much that one company has done for the sport, televising world cups, hosting huge events, producing mind boggling videos and just generally pushing extreme sports forwards. To do this though, they do need money so im not going to complain if they take 2 seconds out of a video to advertise that.

So yeah, that's my two cents.

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13 hours ago, Mikee said:

The thread is about idolised athletes getting paid to promote an unhealthy product.

 

14 hours ago, Mark W said:

A couple of semi-rhetorical questions more specifically related to Red Bull's involvement with trials - I know a few riders who got into trials because they got to have a go on a trials bike at the Red Bull Street Light Sessions.  Is them getting into trials worse than Red Bull bankrolling that event?  At what point does that balance tip?  How many riders need to get into riding trials having seen Imaginate or Epecuen to offset Red Bull's involvement?

My point is that the Street Light Sessions were funded by Red Bull, and revolved around Danny MacAskill's (a Red Bull athlete) involvement.  That event got people into riding, and to use your view of it got them into a "healthy lifestyle sport", despite it being funded by an "immoral" company.  At what point does getting more people into a "healthy lifestyle sport" outweigh the fact that they are promoting an "unhealthy" product?  

I've heard customers say they got into riding because they saw videos like Way Back Home, Imaginate, Epecuen - these are all Red Bull funded under Danny's direction, so when does the fact that they're getting more people into riding by inspiring them with those videos outweigh the fact their product is "unhealthy"?

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10 hours ago, Archie H said:

The way I see it, their main purpose (one would assume) is to sell drinks to profit themselves, but is it?

Yes and no - my understanding of it is that the Red Bull we're thinking of (the Austrian company) is actually not much more than a media company.  The drink production is all handled by the Thai company who came up with the drink originally.  They split the profit between them.  The Austrian company's goal is to get brand exposure (around 40% of Red Bull's overall revenue is spent on marketing), the Thai company's goal is to create the product.

To an extent, I think the Austrian side of it is more aimed at becoming a bigger media entity, which just happens to be funded by an energy drink company.  Obviously their goal is to sell more product to make more money, but they don't always push that side of it as much.  For example, they fund projects that aren't being undertaken by Red Bull affiliated athletes/musicians/artists, often without really requiring much if any branding.  I saw a skateboarding video a while back that just had a really small bit in the credits pointing out it was Red Bull funded.  I believe at the moment they'e also trying to put together a video with a pro skater who's not got any endorsement with them, but has a cool idea for a project that only a company like Red Bull could fund.  I doubt he's going to be necking cans mid-way through it.  See also: Felix Baumgartner. 

With things like that I think their goal is to get enough brand exposure and awareness that if someone is buying an energy drink they'll buy a Red Bull, rather than getting people who wouldn't ordinarily buy an energy drink to buy one.  Admittedly that's a bit down the "potato"/"potato" route, but it does seem a little different to me compared to how, as an example, that 'Bang' company sponsoring Aurelien are doing things.

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Show me a moral business that's successful...

This is the real world world everyone who wants to get ahead has to lie cheat and deceive in one way or another. Every massive business has some kind of scandal that comes out eventually its just the way it is.

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14 hours ago, Mikee said:

The environment can effect health, yes. But what sport has anything to do with being environmentally friendly? And what sports are causing large impacts on the environment? 

I don’t really get your point. The thread is about idolised athletes getting paid to promote an unhealthy product.

Even if you don't consider it as linked, the whole topic of discussion is ethics and morality.
Taking part in a sport might not directly affect the environment, but the creating of the equipment you use does. (In this case, sponsor companies.)

It's a separate issue to the one you asked about, but it's effectively the same question coming from a different origin.

We can think of things like this as being morally dubious, but it's impossible for one creature to live without having at least some negative impact on others.
Vegans try to minimise this, but living in concrete cities, brick houses, using electricity...
Environmental activists try to minimise it, but they might print protest banners on paper made from cut down trees using oil-based paint.

The best we can do is try to minimise our negative impacts as much as possible, but all that will do is slow down the march toward our inevitable self-inflicted doom.
Essentially, there's too many of us to be able to live squarely within the limits of what we consider moral. 
WAY too many.
But reducing the human population by at least 50% is frowned upon by the same morals.

Edited by aener
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If athletes were also environmental activists, I think you would have a valid point. But I think for this topic, it's going off the rails a bit.

Sport is very much associated with health. This is even one of the headers on a red bull athlete's page "An evolving human who has the intention of inspiring people to lead a healthier lifestyle.".

The reason for sponsorship is that people who look up to the athlete are far more likely to buy products that they promote. If this didn't work effectively, it wouldn't be worth the company's investment.

Red Bull do not put on these events to get people into sports, that is incidental and just the nature of people watching sports. The purpose is advertising. A quick google search says that in 2016, red bull sold over 6 billion cans of the stuff, had a revenue of 7.4 billion USD (over double the revenue of Monster) and have a significant chunk of the market share over the competitors. Their marketing strategy is obviously genius and working very well.

I've already asked the question, but I would like you ask you directly @Mark W. If a cigarette company were in red bull's position, would you have the same opinion?

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It feels like we've reached an impasse caused be you isolating one moral dilemma and me considering them in sum.
You are arguing that this one action runs against ethics.
I'm arguing that whilst it might run against ethics, so does everything else we do. (Edit: which is how environmentalism got dragged into this, since that appeared to have caused some confusion.)

I've a feeling we actually agree with each other, but we're talking about different things and not really realising it.

I hadn't looked into actual Red Bull sponsored athletes, and there is definitely something amiss with someone touting health being on Red Bull, but I guess "getting by" is a major barrier to ethical issues (the ones with effects you don't personally see, anyway. The trolley problem etc are a different category).

Edited by aener
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2 hours ago, Mikee said:

A quick google search says that in 2016, red bull sold over 6 billion cans of the stuff, had a revenue of 7.4 billion USD (over double the revenue of Monster) and have a significant chunk of the market share over the competitors. Their marketing strategy is obviously genius and working very well.

Yeah, but that's not solely down to extreme sports stuff. They had a good ad campaign for years when it first came out and plenty of manual labour folk use it to get them going, as do field based office people like me (I don't actually drink it, but I see plenty who do when I stop for fuel).

Sure it's played a part, but 6 billion cans isn't all down to their sports stuff.

Also, regarding cigarettes, that's a different ball game I'd say. I think it's wrong to promote smoking, because it's known to cause cancer and is highly addictive. A can of Red Bull now and then probably isn't doing you much harm, certainly not as much as 20-40 a day ciggy habits.

I don't see it as being unethical with Red Bull, but if it was addictive substances they were promoting I'd have a different view.

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@aener I am not disagreeing with you and understand exactly wat you are saying. But I personally see it, in this scenario, as an elephant and a mouse. I was trying to focus on what I consider the elephant.

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/energy-drinks-can-trigger-sudden-heart-attacks-even-in-healthy-young-people-study-finds-10152418.html

@MadManMike Absolutely not solely down to extreme sports stuff. But their logo having a massive, wide spread presence is doing them massive favours. Considering their market share.

What if cigarette companies came out and said that smoking should be done in moderation. A cig now and then probably isn't doing you much harm either. If a person had a red bull every time someone had a cig, who would die first?

Caffeine and sugar are somewhat addictive. I have read stuff from people who had serious energy drink problems, that it was somewhat like giving up smoking. 

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All this talk of Red Bull I’m gonna end up having my first of the year earlier than I thought. Mike, does that make you immoral?

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It's contractual.

 

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6 hours ago, Mikee said:

I've already asked the question, but I would like you ask you directly @Mark W. If a cigarette company were in red bull's position, would you have the same opinion?

No, but that's because they're totally different things.  You can't seriously be trying to argue that one is as bad as the other?

"Energy drinks have been associated with health risks... and excessive or repeated consumption can lead to cardiac and psychiatric conditions.  However, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that an adequate consumption of Red Bull and other popular energy drinks is safe...  Energy drinks have the effects that caffeine and sugar give, but there is no distinct evidence that the wide variety of other ingredients has any effect."

As it says there, an 'adequate consumption' of them is safe.  There is no 'adequate consumption' of cigarettes to make them safe.  Red Bull itself has been going for 30 years, but the product itself has been consumed for longer than that.  I'm pretty sure if it led to widespread health implications equivalent to those associated with smoking we'd know about it, unless their lobbying group are more successful than the billions that the cigarette companies threw at suppressing medical research?  If you're trying to say that because someone could go and drink too much and cause themselves issues, what about coffee in that people have drunk too much of that and died from complications caused by excessive consumption of caffeine?  A medium/grande Starbucks coffee has 4 times the caffeine content of a can of Red Bull.

You still haven't answered my questions, btw - think of it as the way that companies do carbon offsetting, or planting trees to offset the ones lost for making paper.  

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3 hours ago, Mikee said:

What if cigarette companies came out and said that smoking should be done in moderation. A cig now and then probably isn't doing you much harm either. If a person had a red bull every time someone had a cig, who would die first?

Honestly not sure if you're trolling...

If you smoke 40 a day and someone drinks 40 a day, I'm sure the Red Bull would kill you first - however, that's a properly shit comparison.

They simply are not comparable. Anything that is bad should be done in moderation, but smoking is bad in every way and is addictive, hence people smoke 40 a day. Red Bull itself isn't addictive, though you may like caffeine and sugar, that doesn't mean you need to consume Red Bull.

I actually don't even know why I'm typing this, I'm not sure your comment was serious.

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@Mark W Excessive and repeated smoking is generally just being a smoker and is far more common than excessive and repeated energy drink consumption. So cigarettes of course kill far more people. But in a like for like scenario, would you rather smoke 5 cigarettes a day for a year, or drink 5 red bulls a day for a year? My point is that a person with an energy drink problem is at far more immediate risk, which can be potentially fatal. So in some circumstances, energy drinks more dangerous than smoking.

For your question, I simply don't have an answer. It's not as clear cut as being carbon neutral.

@MadManMike It wasn't supposed to be a perfect comparison, just a hypothetical like for like. Both are dangerous. Smoking used to be acceptable. And as Ali pointed out earlier in the thread, will energy drinks have a similar stigma in the future? And maybe even get an advertising ban like cigarettes?

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6 minutes ago, Mikee said:

My point is that a person with an energy drink problem is at far more immediate risk, which can be potentially fatal. So in some circumstances, energy drinks more dangerous than smoking.

Have you actually looked at how many cases there are recorded of people dying from drinking Red Bull?  I found at most 5, 4 of those had other factors that contributed to it.  There's only been one court case tabled that blamed Red Bull for someone's death, ever.

Regarding smoking, this is a quote from King James in 1604 (he ordered autopsies to be carried out on people who smoked and had died, where they found that their “inward parts infected with an oily kind of soot.”):

"[Smoking] is lothesome to the eye, hatefull to the Nose, harmfull to the braine, dangerous to the Lungs, and in the stinking fume thereof, nearest resembling the horrific Stigian smoke of the pit that is bottomless.”

The only reason that it's still a thing is tax revenue.  I know you're going to say that that could be the same for energy drinks, but there's only so much trolling I can really be bothered dealing with...

About 5 cigarettes vs. 5 cans of Red Bull - get the cans lined up.  Just for reference, a standard can of Red Bull has 80mg of caffeine in it.  The recommended safe daily upper limit is 400-450mg.  For comparison, if I'm getting a coffee when I'm out from Starbucks/Costa, I'd usually get something like a Cortado.  1 Starbucks Cortado is equivalent to 2 cans of Red Bull.

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This conversation is getting ridiculous. There is no way that a can of red bull is as damaging as smoking, or ruins (and ends) anywhere near as many lives. Sure, if you drank 50 red bulls in a day your body would likely give up, but nobody (almost nobody) does that as red bull itself is not addictive, caffeine is maybe but no way near the addiction levels of smoking, or as damaging. If smoking was put to WHO as a new concept nowadays it would be laughed out of town. Red Bull does go through health organisations and passes. Hench why is it a legal requirement to warn of death when you buy tobacco and smoking products and not a can of red bull. Smoking causes mutations and f**ks your body up for a long time. Red bull doesn't as long as its in sensible amounts. Same as if you drank 50 cups of coffee a day you would likely be quite ill, or ate 50 bananas, or run 50 miles. Things that dont negatively impact you in small amounts, become lethal.

Also red bull, having caffeine, will likely improve your body's feeling of energy and reaction so will help in the short term with sports. A cigarette will raise your heart rate as well, but also mess up your breathing and fill your lungs with all kind of carcinogenic crap that will severely impact your athleticism. To be honest, i'm not really sure why smoking is legal at all, something to do with tax and money probably but that's beyond me. But yeah, not comparable.

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I think it is a bit addictive to some people, Monster plays a huge part too, and Monster doesn't come in the smaller sized cans. Have you ever been on a building site? I've seen people have two cans of Monster, for BREAKFAST. There really are people that drink four or five cans a day, that's 2 litres of pure chemical shit every day, if you're doing that Monday to Friday I would bet those 20-25 cans are doing far more damage than full time smoking, and I f**king hate smoking.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2741591/My-heart-just-hit-floor-A-mother-s-pain-son-died-drinking-FOUR-energy-drinks-daily-doctor-warns-no-caffeinated-beverages-day.html

'The body is just not made to take that sheer capacity of toxic levels of chemicals' he told Daily Mail Australia.

Rare case I know, but there's something in it. Plus, it hasn't been that long since all these drinks were associated with action sports and every kid was downing them, it's quite a new thing, so give it a few decades and I'm sure there'll be plenty of 40 and 50 year olds with brown teeth and shitty hearts. Liquid just isn't as threatening as smoke so people aren't gonna make as big of a fuss about it, and it's much easier to be around if you're not into it. I know which I'd rather be around.

Edited by LEON
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@Mark W Do you realise that 5 cans of red bull would add up to 135g of sugar? The recommended intake for adult men is less than 40g a day. Not to mention the rest of the chemistry set in them.

I chose 5 a day for a good reason. I think it is a realistic number for someone who drinks excessive energy drinks. My point is that if taken equally, are energy drinks comparable to cigarettes, in regards to the negative impacts on the human body?

I am fully aware that cigarettes are dangerous and I am not saying that drinking the odd red bull is worse then a smoking addiction. I am questioning the effects on the body of one can of red bull vs one cigarette, ignoring addiction.

Edited by Mikee

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1 hour ago, Mikee said:

I am questioning the effects on the body of one can of red bull vs one cigarette, ignoring addiction.

Yes, and we're all saying that you cannot compare them.

They are not in any way comparable.

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I have said it’s not a perfect comparison and myself have pointed out a couple of reasons why, including addiction. But saying that no parallels can be drawn between the two, I think, is not the case. I used cigarettes as an example because someone else brought them up in the beginning of the discussion. I was not saying that cigarettes and red bull are equivalent to each other.

I would question the ethics of athletes if they were sponsored by alcoholic drinks, Coca Cola or McDonald’s. Red bull was singled out because of my friend’s personal experience and that they have a massive sports presence.

This isn’t a thread about what is worse for human health, it’s about athletes getting paid to promote unhealthy products.

Edited by Mikee
Wording slightly changed

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1vs1

After 1 can of red bull; in 10 minutes your heart rate and blood pressure will rise as caffeine is absorbed into the bloodstream. 1/4 to 3/4 hour, you will reach peak caffeine levels which raise alertness and concentration. 30-50 minutes, all caffeine is absorbed. Liver absorbs more sugar into bloodstream. After about 1 hour you sugar crash and caffeine wears off (although sugar crash not with sugar free cans, obviously) you feel tired. After 12 hours the caffeine is gone for most people. For people who drink lots of it, 12 - 24 hours they may feel withdrawal symptoms so get irritated, headaches and constipation (UNLIKELY FROM ONE CAN). SUMMARY: Increased short term concentration and alertness. Mid term - sugar crash and tired. Long term - Not a lot.

Now let's look at one cigarette. After one puff, the smoke affects how your body breaks down fat. Heart rate increases, and you may experience acid reflux. This then blocks absorption of Vitamin C and E and folic acid leading to weak and depressed feelings. As soon as smoke reaches your nose, the hairs 'freeze up' and mucus builds up leading to headaches and increased risks of illness. As soon an nicotine reaches the brain, it represses emotion, sense of direction ect. Then there's the obvious about addiction and cancer, you get the point. SUMMARY: Similar effects of red bull can PLUS addiction, brain damage, acid reflux, depression, emotionless, confusion, vulnerability to virus, cancerous, harming others around you, and just bad breath.

But as you said, we're not discussing that.

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Addiction, brain damage, cancer from one cigarette? What?

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3 hours ago, Archie H said:

 SUMMARY: Similar effects of red bull can PLUS addiction, brain damage, acid reflux, depression, emotionless, confusion, vulnerability to virus, cancerous, harming others around you, and just bad breath.

I will never defend smoking, but that is a bit of a stretch to say the least lol. Brain damage? Depression? I've never heard of a 35 year old dropping dead from smoking.

Do you work for Red Bull? 

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