Sometimes, major celebrities get behind really dumb products. Even worse are the times where they put their own name on said products, thereby making such embarrassments even more embarrassing. Just ask Donald Trump, the reality TV star (you might’ve heard of him?) who invested in a long string of flopped products, from Trump Steaks to Trump Vodka. Hulk Hogan encountered similar pitfalls with his so-called Thunder Mixer, and the less said about the Kiss Kasket, the better.
Another big celeb who made this same mistake was Steven Seagal, the action movie star and martial arts practitioner, who in the early 2000s decided to “gift” the world with a weirdly offensive energy drink.
Lightning Bolt lost its charge (real quick)
Now, by 2005, Steven Seagal’s career was already past its peak. Nonetheless, this was the year he announced the release of Lightning Bolt, the so-called “Asian Experience energy drink” … and the world collectively collapsed with mocking laughter. According to Adweek, Seagal claimed that he’d personally backpacked through Asia in search of the drink’s ethereal ingredients, resulting in a beverage that held “untold power.” These ingredients, according to Gizmodo, included green tea (so mystical, huh?), Tibetan goji berry, gingko biloba, and Asian cordyceps, a combination which led to Seagal boasting that, “I have traveled the world creating this drink; there is none better.” And you could have it all for the price of one $2.99 can.
What, you’re thinking this was a spoof? Nah. A guy inflated with the gargantuan self-importance of Steven Seagal could never intentionally be so goofy. Just to make sure, though, Gawker did double-check and confirmed that Lightning Bolt was a real drink. Lest you think all the Asian stereotypes bundled up in this weren’t offensive (and uncomfortable) enough, Lightning Bolt’s painfully bad commercials also injected quite a bit of misogyny into the proceedings, as they featured bikini-clad women, framed as Seagal’s employees, being made to swim in a pool full of Lightning Bolt, while Seagal himself generally acted smug and creepy with them.
Today, Steven Seagal doesn't talk about his energy drink
If you don’t remember Steven Seagal’s not-so-successful (and offensive) entry into the energy drink market, well, he’d probably prefer it that way. While no official sales numbers are online, the fact that Lightning Bolt can’t be found in your local Circle K today is a pretty solid indicator that nobody was too thrilled by it. These days, though, a failed energy drink is the least of Seagal’s problems. In the past few years, according to USA Today, multiple women have come forward with sexual misconduct and assault allegations against him, at one point leading to him abruptly exiting an interview in 2018 instead of addressing the accusations. And frankly, when you look at how badly those old Lighting Bolt ads objectify women, this shouldn’t be much of a surprise.
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