In the eighteen months since its launch, ZOA Energy has carved out quite a spot in the 26 billion dollar energy drink market. Launched by the powerhouse team of Dave Rienzi, John Shulman, Dany Garcia, and Hollywood Superstar Dwayne Johnson, the brand has tapped into growing consumer demand for healthier alternatives for consumable products. By strategically rolling out new flavors and expanding its product line into new areas, the brand has stayed at the forefront of a category filled with new and established brands, all battling to grab attention and cash. Their latest rollout, an exclusive packaging partnership with the new DC superhero film Black Adam, should only expand help increase sales for a brand that was the fastest growing energy drink on the market last year.
Much like the growth of seltzers and non-alcoholic beverages exploded during the pandemic, the healthy energy drink category has been on a tear lately, with numerous new and established brands quickly stepping into it for a good reason. According to IRI Data, while the overall energy drink segment is up 11%, the healthy energy drink category is up 245%. It accounts for 9.1% of sales for the entire segment.
Into this field, ZOA Energy stepped at the beginning of 2021 with big plans. Their product was designed to be a disruptor by offering consumers the chance to drink a product free from preservatives, artificial ingredients, and additives. Each can contains caffeine derived from a blend of green tea and green unroasted coffee, plus a mix of vitamins, electrolytes, and amino acids. While all that sounds great, any brand entering the market will tell you that getting people to pay attention to something new is difficult at best. That was solved by tapping into their biggest, literally, asset in The Rock.
Known for his dedication to staying in shape, along with his wry sense of humor, Johnson has adroitly parlayed the move from a beloved pro wrestler into one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. His involvement in the project from day one garnered attention. It helped the brand secure a nationwide distribution deal with the Molson Coors Beverage Company, ensuring it would hit the ground running. His influence is evident on every can’s label. The logo is the massive Polynesian tattoo that resides on The Rock’s chest.
That logo will take the backseat for the next few months as it shares space with an image of Johnson staring out as Black Adam. As the newest entrant into the ever-expanding DC Extended Universe, the movie can become the next blockbuster to hit theaters, even though its main character is an antihero with a complicated backstory. But who would have predicted the massive success of the Deadpool movies a few years ago? It was that edginess and unknown that attracted Johnson and the team behind ZOA Energy to the partnership, the first one that DC has ever agreed to for an energy drink.
“This partnership has a unique metabolism and a connective tissue to it because both brands are exciting, highly anticipated, and are disruptive. That’s why I was excited to link them together and wanted to do this,” Johnson says. “My team is constantly looking at partnerships, many of which don’t work for various reasons. They might not be the correct fit, seem forced, or come across as inauthentic, something I would never do to my fans. This one seemed to tick off all the boxes, and I think it will shine.”
The packaging was rolled out during this summer’s San Diego Comic-Con, where ZOA Energy had its own Black Adam interactive zone where attendees could sample the product and see the new cans. According to the company, it was a hit, with over 125,000 people coming through over four days. Johnson, who was there, was overwhelmed and said it bodes well for the rollout.
“We got two bites out of a big apple at the unveiling at Comic-Con. Number one was the fan’s reaction when we unveiled the cans; they went bananas. They loved them. The second was that they told us they loved the drink itself. Many of them had never tasted Zoa before, and I think we made many new consumers of our product there. Hopefully, that will continue with the nationwide rollout.”
ZOA Energy is planning on a full-scale blitz of the market. The product will be released nationwide on September 12 before the movie’s premiere on October 21. At the store level, large displays anchored by Black Adam POS will greet consumers along with a sweepstake for exclusive gear. They will also be executing a digital media campaign and leaning heavily on their founder’s 450 million social media followers to drive sales.
If the debut of their limited-release flavor cherry-limeade last month on Amazon
The product will be available on all retail and online platforms in five flavors, Pineapple Coconut, Super Berry, Wild Orange, Tropical Punch, and White Peach.
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