Page last updated at 14:33 GMT, Wednesday, 2 September 2009 15:33 UK

Drink criticised over drug name

simply Cocaine bottle
Charity Hope raised concerns about the drink's high caffeine content

An energy drink called Simply Cocaine has been attacked by a charity for glamorising substance abuse.

The product, which has a high caffeine content, has been launched by a Kent-based drinks company.

Manufacturer Simply Drinks says the product is being targeted at 18 to 35-year-olds with a sense of humour.

But anti-drugs charity Hope UK said the firm was being irresponsible and a brand expert thought the naming ploy could backfire.

Alun Morinan, from Hope UK, said: "I don't think [young people] will fall for a gimmick but I just don't understand why they have chosen this title.

They may have been ill-advised to call it this name because no major supermarket or retailer is going to stock Simply Cocaine because of the drug connotations
Richard Abbott

"Drinking Simply Cocaine does not necessarily lead to drugs, I know that.

"I think it does glamorise the product [cocaine] and I also have concerns about the high caffeine content of this drink."

Marketing magazine's Richard Abbott said: "They say that no publicity is bad publicity but on this occasion they may have been ill-advised to call it this name because no major supermarket or retailer is going to stock Simply Cocaine because of the drug connotations."

Garry Shepherd, of Simply Drinks based in Hawkhurst, near Tunbridge Wells, defended the name of the soft drink saying Opium was used as a name for a perfume.

He added: "We are targeting people aged between 18 and 35, people with a sense of humour and feel that it is just a fun name.

"I can't believe that making a lemon fizzy drink, a good tasting drink I must admit, and pouring it into a bottle is glamorising cocaine when you have rock stars and bankers using it and promoting it in songs."

The drink is currently on sale in a number of bars and Mr Shepherd has asked retailers not to sell it to under 18s.

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Garry Shepherd defends the name given to the energy drink



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