BodyArmor Seeks to Overtake Gatorade

If you asked Mike Repole if he ever would return to the beverage industry after killing it with his product Vitamin Water, Mike would have likely responded “no”.   Vitamin Water was a huge success and was sold to Coca-Cola for $4.1 billion in May of 2007.  Energy Brands, the parent of Vitamin Water, marketed the beverage as filling a gap between soft drinks and plain water, but for those who knew they should be drinking “more”.  Not surprisingly, Mike did not lose his passion for the sports beverage industry.

In 2011,  Repole looked into the next generation of beverages and he started with a new brand that he called BodyArmor.  BodyArmor, like Vitamin Water, also claims to have healthier products than their primary competitors, Gatorade and Powerade. With that said, Gatorade has a big “first mover” advantage and they have been around for 5 decades and have reached out to millions of athletes. As Repole respectfully states, “I think Gatorade is an iconic brand.”  However, he is very quick to say that this drink is past its prime and goes onto say, “To me, it sounds weird that a brand I grew up with 35 years ago is the same brand that my kids grow up with. It doesn’t make sense.” Repole, once again, wants to change in the sports drink industry.   

Picture of Coke taking ownership of BodyArmor, Courtesy of Bevnet.

Picture of Coke taking ownership of BodyArmor, Courtesy of Bevnet.

BodyArmor is a new and healthier product for athletes with six flavors that contain coconut water, two and a half times the electrolytes of traditional sports drinks and are very low in sodium. To spread the word, Repole and BodyArmor now have reached out to athletes all over the world, and refer to the new drink as a super drink rather than a sports drink.  Their main athlete and investor is Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest NBA players of all time. 

Picture of Kobe Bryant drinking BodyArmor, courtesy of Bevnet

Picture of Kobe Bryant drinking BodyArmor, courtesy of Bevnet

In March of 2014, Kobe reportedly invested 6 million dollars for a 10% ownership in the company.   More recently, BodyArmor Sports began its largest marketing campaign, which consisted of television and radio ads, and billboards. The campaigns do not showcase Kobe, but instead rely on a new generation of super athletes including James Harden, Kristaps Porzingis, Mike Trout and Skylar Diggins-Smith.   Repole’s reasoning for this is that the young stars are a strategy to contrast BodyArmor with mainstay sports brands like Gatorade and Powerade, whose endorsement roster is heavy on veterans like Peyton Manning and Derek Jeter.  Repole wants to get away from the old sports drink namesakes. He wants the next generation to grow up using his sports product instead of the ‘good old’ Gatorade.   Not surprisingly, however, Kobe is the mastermind and co-director for most of the TV commercials.  With the company’s recent success, Kobe’s initial six million dollar investment is now worth 200 million dollars and there is no end in sight.

As said in an August 14 article from Reuters, Coca-Cola stated, “We need seek to mount a stronger challenge to PepsiCo’s Gatorade”. Coca Cola needs to find another up and coming brand to compete with Gatorade.  Subsequently, BodyArmor is proud of their team and their new partnership with Coke. BodyArmor states, “We are on our new mission to become the #1 global sport drink”.   “Thanks @Gatorade, we’ll take it from here,” (Bryant said on Twitter). 

As BodyArmor looks to take over the sports drink industry, the fight to secure the #1 spot will be quite interesting to watch.

christian Hines