The Real 5150: 51Fifty Energy Drink Responds To Criticism On Autism Awareness Campaign




Earlier today I posted criticism about 51Fifty Energy Drink’s use of the puzzle pieces graphics on their cans to promote autism awareness. This is an autism awareness campaign gone wrong. Their response was to block me on Twitter.

The name 51Fifty and slogan/hashtag #LiveTheMadness promotes stigma and mock folks, like me, with a mental illness. The code 5150 is California’s police code for those with a brain disorder having a deep mental crisis and are either a danger to themselves or others. Having a mental illness is not a choice. Having autism is not a choice. Being a badass is a choice.

The company’s description on their LinkedIn Profile states that in 2007 Carlos Vieira wanted to become a race car driver and took a chance to realize that dream. He used “the fact that everyone thought he was crazy as an inspiration for the name, ’51Fifty.'”

The profile highlights that he donated his winnings to a local non-profit and then established The Carlos Vieira Foundation to support families with autistic children. Also, that the charity has a grant program in five Central California counties and donates to programs nationwide to help find a cure for autism.  According to the company’s description page, 51Fifty Energy Drink was created to help those efforts.

Folks, I’m scratching my head trying to figure out how promoting stigma in the name of advocacy makes sense.  I’m a mother to a son on the spectrum and know how awful society’s view of autism and violence can be — and the horror of the press reporting stories on mass college shootings and other violence relating it to autism and Asperger’s.

Whether this company’s heart is in the right place or not, they can and need to do better.

2 thoughts on “The Real 5150: 51Fifty Energy Drink Responds To Criticism On Autism Awareness Campaign

  1. Rico says:

    Seems like you have some kind of weird obsession with this local business. Your crusade seems pretty self indulgent. I understand that you don’t like their name, but to campaign to have their product removed from stores? What real harm are they doing to anybody? You have the ability to not buy their product, or to shop at stores that sell it. But to pressure a large chain to drop their product? I don’t even like their drink much and have never purchased one, but this is out of hand. Thanks to you, there are many people that will be boycotting SAVE MART. There is a petition circulating regarding this, that will be sent to save mart support. I hope they do the right thing and put it back on the shelves.

    Can you please explain how your campaign really will help anybody, but yourself? Thanks.


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