Organic Gatorade asks: How stupid are you?

September 21, 2016 Originally published on SFGate

Answer: very stupid. Or at least, flagrantly disinterested. Irrationally trusting? Efficiently dumb? Here’s the thing: It doesn’t really matter, and they don’t really care.

Surely you already know? The corporate manufacturers of unhealthy, childish, insulting products like the new and rather nasty Organic Gatorade – or, for that matter, gluten-free water, or fat-free cookies or organic candy bars or low-tar cigarettes, et al – they are gleefully aware that huge swaths of Americans don’t have the time, the wherewithal or, best of all, the fundamental aptitude required to check into the spurious health claims or bulls–t sloganeering of every revolting neon-blue sugar-water they hurl at them.

Call it the Trump Strategy: It’s where you shamelessly bombard the culture (or the media, or a voting bloc, or religious zealots) with so much poison, and so quickly, no one can possibly parse it fast enough and call you out on your BS, before you’re already smashing them over the head with the next gutless offense.

So it is that “Organic Gatorade” now actually exists, and of course, much like Coca-Cola’s massive Vitamin Water scam, it is nothing short of laughable trash. PepsiCo claims it now contains organic sugarcane where the non-organic stuff used to be – which, let’s admit, does have significant environmental advantages, if not health – and it’s all coupled to the same tiny handful of salt and “natural” flavors and all the obesity-causing nonsense it had before. Are you duped? They’re counting on it.

Why did Gatorade go “organic,” if it’s so obviously a marketing scam and it’s still the same nauseatingly over-sweet, diabetes-accelerating sugar water it ever was? That’s easy: Because studies are showing that more Americans really are paying more attention to ingredients and labels, seeking out essential keywords like “organic” and “all natural” and “healthy,” hoping that they actually mean something, that the FDA and the USDA will stand up to the thousands of shameless mega-corporations who are casually lying and screwing people over like feral hogs, because capitalism.

Dear America: screw you. Love, PepsiCo

Dear America: screw you. Love, PepsiCo

That Trump comparison, by the way? Not even remotely disingenuous. Trump is essentially employing the exact same tactic on his slavering followers that PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, Taco Bell and the NRA and McDonald’s and purveyors of similar poisons use on your intelligence – which is to say, manipulating, whoring, lying to your face, selling you a pile of grossly branded nonsense and calling it nourishing, when it is the exact opposite.

Hey, I get it. This isn’t exactly new. If you’re reading this right now, you likely already understand adding “organic” to Gatorade is like adding “gluten-free” to heroin or “natural flavorings” to genital warts.

It also means you’re miles from PepsiCo’s target market, which is the mal-educated, the trusting, the poor, the millions of Americans innocently scanning the hilariously noxious aisle of bright purple/blue/pink/orange plastic-bottled cancers at Safeway or at a million convenience stores across the country, and, spotting the word “organic” and thinking it might actually mean something positive, will waste their three bucks in PepsiCo’s direction.

It’s just capitalism at work, of course. It’s just what we do. Anything truly healthy, honest, spiritually connected, authentically sourced, deeply nourishing that catches the public’s attention – and which is often free to being with, like water – will be instantly co-opted, repackaged and sold back to you at a 10,000% markup (hi, coconut water), as “organic” – which actually did mean something quite valuable and important not too long ago – gets diluted even further, pummeled into corporate-branded gibberish.

Meanwhile! Do you really want to quench your thirst? Drink a glass of tap water. Need to replace those “valuable electrolytes” after a sweaty workout, the ones Gatorade lies about replenishing? Throw in a teaspoon of salt. Add a squeeze of lemon for flavor.

Total cost? About four cents. Middle finger from PepsiCo? Priceless.

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Mark Morford

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