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By Bonginkosi Tiwane

Digital Journalist


A look at how an energy drink lost its prime in just one year in Mzansi

About a year ago throngs of Mzansi parents queued outside Checkers over to get their kids the drink that was once priced at R500.


It has nearly been a year since the frenzy surrounding Prime Energy Drink gripped South Africa; this is when kids forced their parents to queue long lines to purchase the energy beverage for exaggerated prices.

It’s no hyperbole to say the prices were exaggerated.

A year ago the energy drink’s price ranged between R400 and R700, but today one can stroll into a local retailer to purchase the colourful 500ml bottle for a measly R20-R40.

“While Prime energy, the global brand has managed to convert its viral moment into sales momentum, it’s safe to say its hype cycle has died down,” economist and trend analyst Bronwyn Williams from Flux Trends told The Citizen.

Another fad

A quick look at Google Trends shows that the energy drink’s hype on Mzansi social media has dropped drastically since last year.

The graph on Google trends shows that the drink began building some momentum on social media in early April last year, reaching its peak between 30 April and 6 May.

The drink began experiencing a decline since May.

“Both the scarcity and novelty value that justified the once extraordinary prices, have diminished and now it’s just another drink and has the market value of the same,” averred Brown.

Retailer Checkers was the country’s main supplier of the drink, but they announced that the price will drop to R39.99 in May.

Prime Energy drink was created by YouTube sensations Logan Paul and KSI in 2022.

ALSO READ: Did you pay R500 for a sip of Prime? Prepare to kick yourself

Social media consumers

In the same way high school kids in the township who are part of Skhotane groups see flashing their expensive clothes and splurging of money as a status symbol, so did their peers in the suburbs feel when drinking the R500 priced energy drink.

In an interview in October 2023, Logan Paul said, “In year one, we cleared $250 million (over R4bn) in retail sales and $110 million gross internally.”

KSI and Logan Paul are YouTubers who have built careers around social media and it’s no surprise that their Prime Energy drink thrived through social media.

“Social media accelerates trends, both the adoption and the decline – it just makes hype cycles travel faster and further but it does not guarantee longevity,” said trends expert Brown.

Brown says falling for things on social media isn’t limited to the impressionable minds of teenagers, adults are just as vulnerable to fall for such.

She points out to the Stanley Cup frenzy, which saw a hoard of people purchasing it after a video of the cup began trending on social media.

“Adults are just as susceptible as kids,” she said. “We can expect a similar trajectory for Stanley cups, the now coveted collectible personal metal thermos mugs that trended online and in real life over the past festive season.”

There’s not much protection for consumers and they need to be vigilant and discerning before parting with their money.

“Government does not protect customers from buying hypes but does protect customers from deliberately misleading advertising. That said, some governments are banning social media for young children to protect them from PR and propaganda.”

NOW READ: Stanley Cup frenzy: Here’s how much it costs to get one in SA

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