The use of energy drinks in the United States, Europe, and other developed countries has increased dramatically over the past decade. Market research date indicates that in the US alone, sales soared by more than 60% in the period between 2008 and 2012 (Burton, Dadich & Soboleva 2013).Researchers estimate that the use of these beverages in developed countries grows at an average approximate rate of 18.3% per year, representing close to a million new users every year. The energy drink market in the US has a sales turnover of approximately $16 per year, dominated by brands such as Redbull, Monster, SoBe No Fear, and Rockstar (Nawrot, Jordan & Eastwood 2003).The consumption and marketing of energy drinks are highly targeted, with youths making up the bulk of users. 68% of adolescents, 30% of adults, and 18% of children under the age of ten in the United States are regular consumers of energy drinks.
The awareness and use of energy drinks have risen exponentially mainly due to aggressive marketing campaigns. Beverage companies employ the use of celebrities and athletes to market their products. A combined use of blogging sites, urban legends, and “underground” chic has increased the appeal of these drinks to the youth. The marketing strategies used by energy drink companies play an instrumental role in shaping consumer attitudes. Twitter, a microblogging website has in particular gained favor with energy drink companies. The use of Twitter is exceptional due to their ability to focus on a demographic of young and “chic” users who are targeted by energy drink companies. Besides, there is a little regulation regarding the use of microblogging sites regarding content, thus allowing companies to use non-traditional marketing strategies. It is with this background that Huang (2013) asserts that “marketing on social media platforms is also important from a US policy perspective.” In addition, Babu, Church and Lewander (2007) suggest the use of mandatory age screening by marketers of products such as energy drinks and alcohol.