Properties that reach teen and young-adult males continue to benefit from strong spending on sponsorship by the makers of energy drinks, with most of those dollars still going to extreme sports–including motorsports–and rock music.

Both large and small marketers are signing new deals, even as category sales slow somewhat. Wholesale sales in the category grew 20 percent from ’06 to ’07, down from previous years, according to New York City-based Beverage Marketing Corp., a research and consulting firm.

A handful of brands are moving in a slightly different direction with their new deals. Monster Beverage Co. has signed its first international deals to support its expansion outside the U.S., while South Beach Beverage Co. has replaced deals in competitively crowded areas such as motorcycle racing with mountain biking, snowboarding and surfing events.

“We were one of the first energy drinks to sponsor extreme sports, but everything is so cluttered now,” said Brian Stephenson, SoBe’s senior marketing manager, sports and grassroots. “Only 20 or 30 guys can back flip a motorcycle. We want to focus on sports that are participatory and where we can stand out.”


Energy Drinks: Who Does What

AMP Energy
Pepsi-Cola North America
700 Anderson Hill Rd.
Purchase, NY 10577

Maurice Herrera, marketing director
914/253-2000

Targets/Objectives/Key Activations: Mountain Dew line extension received heightened media and marketing support in ’07, including a sponsorship push focused on motorsports and hockey. Per AMPEnergy.com, the brand also is preparing to sign deals in the action sports space. AMP titled the inaugural NHL Winter Classic outdoor game on New Year’s Day and will be the primary sponsor of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Sprint Cup team for 20 races this season. The company is leveraging its Earnhardt partnership with TV spots, retail promotions, online user-generated-video contests and title of the October race at Talladega, one of the driver’s favorite tracks. Touts video clips of Earnhardt and NHL players on Web site.

Decision-making Structure: Ralph Santana, PCNA vice president of sports, media and interactive marketing, screens and signs off on sponsorships.

Current Sponsorships: Title: AMP Energy 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, Talladega Superspeedway; NHL Winter Classic, Buffalo, N.Y. Co-title: Hendrick Motorsports Sprint Cup team. Cosponsor: NHL.

Additional Comments: Leveraged ad buy on Fox Super Bowl pre-game show with a promotion in which volunteers generated enough energy pedaling stationary bikes to power 30 minutes of the broadcast. Activated Winter Classic with ticket sweeps at local retailers, presenting status of broadband preview and pre-game shows on NHL.com, and on-site promotions where fans could sample product, shoot street hockey balls into a net and have their photos taken in front of a branded green screen.


Bawlz Guarana
Hobarama, LLC
400 NW 26th St.
Miami, FL 33127

Sabrina Gonzalez, marketing director
305/531-9708

Targets/Objectives/Key Activations: Twelve-year-old, privately held Hobarama positions Bawlz as the caffeinated drink of choice among extreme sports athletes, fashionistas, students, professionals and military personnel. Focuses sponsorship activity on BMX, fashion, gaming and paintball events. Recently reupped with IMG for a one-year tie to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Weeks. Uses that and other deals to support its Future of Fashion initiative promoting emerging designers and sustainable products. Sponsors 20-plus BMX teams and 30 BMX tracks, as well as 31 paintball teams and 15 paintball fields; the company uses the venue deals to gain on-site sales rights. Sells through national and regional supermarkets and c-store chains, including Food Emporium, Inc.; 7-Eleven, Inc.; and Target Corp., as well as specialty retailers, sports venues and online merchants.

Decision-making Structure: Gonzalez screens and signs off with input from CEO Hobie Buppert.

Current Sponsorships: Co-title: Tangent Fly Factory Racing BMX team. Cosponsor: ABA National BMX Series; Gen Art Fresh Faces in Fashion, five cities; Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week (Los Angeles, Miami and New York City); National Bicycle League; Ohio LinuxFest, Columbus; Portland (Ore.) Fashion Week.

Additional Comments: Sponsors more than 1,000 LAN (local area network) gaming events each year, including last month’s Winter Game Fest in San Diego and the Carolina Games Summit in Goldsboro, N.C. Extended endorsement deals with NBL riders Matt Pohlkamp and Rachel Smith in December ’07. Fashion Week tie promotes sugar-free version and affords on-site sampling rights. Promotes BMX, gaming and paintball partnerships on BawlStyle.com.


Havoc Energy Drink
American Enterprise Development Corp.
2544 Tarpley, Suite 104
Carrollton, TX 75006

Brim Basom, director of business development
972/418-0225

Targets/Objectives/Key Activations: Publicly traded company’s business model centers on marketing co-branded energy drinks with pro sports teams, college athletic departments and conferences, and events and venues. In some cases it signs sponsorships to acquire those rights, in others it is simply a licensee. Recently has branched out beyond sports, e.g., leveraging a partnership with Tunica, Miss.’s Gold Strike Casino & Resort to offer co-branded product that touted last month’s Gold Strike World Poker Open. Recently signed with Manchester Wolves and plans more AF2 team deals in ’08.

Decision-making Structure: Dan Kosth, CEO of Sports Media, Inc., screens sponsorship opportunities. Tel: 309/755-6557.

Current Sponsorships: AF2; AF2 Manchester (N.H) Wolves; Cassandra Shaffer Dance Ensemble East Coast tour; Horizon League; NBA Sacramento Kings; NHL Dallas Stars and Florida Panthers; Sun Belt Conference.

Additional Comments: Signed deal in December ’07 with Bum Squad DJz; uses partnership to gain exposure and sales rights in urban clubs. Has endorsement deal with strongman competitor Jon Andersen. Recently struck international distribution agreement with Intercontinental Beverage Group, Ltd. Plans to add water and iced tea to its product lineup.


Monster Energy
Monster Beverage Co.
550 Monica Circle, Suite 201
Corona, CA 92880

John Lee, director of sports marketing
951/739-6200

Targets/Objectives/Key Activations: Hansen Natural Corp. subsidiary sponsors motorsports and music to break through clutter and connect with hard-to-reach 14-to-30-year-olds, in addition to supporting its “aggressive, sinister” brand positioning. Monster is putting more focus on events that provide global visibility, such as its new title of the AMA Supercross series and co-title of the Kawasaki Racing Team in the ’08 and ’09 MotoGP World Championships, an international expansion of the two companies’ extensive U.S. partnership. Typically aligns with a sport at the grassroots level before signing larger deals. “We’re immersed in a sport prior to any large sponsorship,” Lee said. Activates AMA Supercross to build relations with the trade: Distributes pit passes and ticket coupons at local retail outlets.

Decision-making Structure: Lee reviews and signs off on sports deals with Sam Pontrelli, vice president of marketing, and Mark Hall, president.

Current Sponsorships: Title: AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, 17 stops; Kenny Bernstein Racing NHRA PowerAde Drag Racing Series Funny Car team; Pipeline Pro presented by Billabong, Hawaii. Co-title: All Kawasaki pro motorcycle teams, including supercross, motocross, road racing, off-road and drag racing, as well as ATV. Cosponsor: AMA Toyota Motocross Championship presented by FMF; AT&T Fiesta Broadway, Los Angeles; East Coast Surfing Championships; Las Vegas Monorail; Ozzfest; Robby Gordon Score Int’l Off-Road team; Team Boss motorcycle stunt show; Toyota Arenacross Series; Vans Warped Tour presented by AT&T.

Additional Comments: Has endorsement deals with about 60 action sports athletes. Has low-level deals with 24 music acts such as Atreyu, Buckcherry, Rob Zombie, Static X and Supersuckers, which it features on its Web site.


Red Bull
Red Bull North America, Inc.
1740 Stewart St.
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Patrice Radden, director of corporate communications
310/460-5344

Targets/Objectives/Key Activations: Taking a page from–and often in conjunction with–Austrian parent Red Bull GmbH, the category’s top-selling brand focuses for the most part on owning properties–including its MLS and NASCAR teams–rather than sponsoring those run by others. Thus it can maintain its positioning as the industry innovator and leader and highlight the Red Bull brand experience and “gives you wings” tagline in an uncluttered environment. Typically activates through traditional media and online promotions.

Decision-making Structure: Event teams at corporate office and regional offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, New York and San Francisco create and activate events and sponsorships. The company accepts proposals at consumer.information@us.redbull.com.

Current Sponsorships: Owned properties include: Art of Can exhibition; MLS New York Red Bulls and Red Bull Park, Harrison, N.J.; Red Bull Air Force air stunt team; Red Bull Air Race World Series; Red Bull Beat Riders Urban Dance Experience; Red Bull Big Tune music producer competition; Red Bull Down & Dirty BMX event; Red Bull Drift Team; Red Bull Futbol de Calle freestyle soccer event; Red Bull Flugtag; Red Bull Illume photo exhibition; Red Bull Last Man Standing motorcycle race; Red Bull Soapbox Race; Red Bull X-Fighters FMX tour; Sprint Cup Red Bull Racing Team.

Additional Comments: Has endorsement deals with a number of extreme sports athletes, including snowboarder Shaun White, auto/motorcycle racer Travis Pastrana, snowmobiler Levi LaValle and skateboarder Ryan Sheckler. Red Bull purchased AEG’s 50 percent share of Red Bull Park last year; the 25,000-seat stadium is scheduled to open in ’09.


Rockstar
Rockstar, Inc.
101 Convention Center Dr.
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Michael Kelso, marketing director
702/939-5535

Targets/Objectives/Key Activations: Privately held Rockstar sponsors music tours, motorsports and other properties to support its “party like a rock star” positioning. Prefers title to promote premium positioning and gain media exposure. Recently expanded its involvement in music with title of this summer’s inaugural Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival. The amphitheater-driven tour builds on the Rockstar Taste of Chaos indoor spring tour. Activates music tours by posting concert footage on its Web site. Sells through grocery and liquor stores; supermarket chains including Albertsons LLC and Bashas’ Inc; as well as Costco Wholesale Corp.

Decision-making Structure: Kelso screens and manages sponsorship with input and approval from Jason May, executive vice president of marketing, and CEO Russell Weiner.

Current Sponsorships: Title: Alternative Press Tour, 43-stop music tour; Mayhem Festival, 31 stops; Toliver Racing NHRA PowerAde Drag Racing Series Funny Car; Taste of Chaos, 32 stops. Co-title: Makita Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Race Team, supercross and motocross. Cosponsor: EliteXC Street Certified Mixed Martial Arts event, Miami; Roxy Chicken Jam snowboarding event, Mammoth Mountain, Calif.; Summer Winter Action Tours’ Spring Break and Winter Break events; Vans Cup Tahoe snowboarding event.

Additional Comments: Has endorsement deals with 40-plus athletes in multiple action sports, as well as boxing, volleyball and motorsports. Supports 13 punk and metal bands, including Aiden, Cradle of Filth, GWAR, Rise Against and Slipknot. Accepts proposals through www.Rockstar69.com.


SoBe Adrenaline Rush
SoBe Essential Energy

South Beach Beverage Co.
700 Anderson Hill Rd.
Purchase, NY 10577

Brian Stephenson, senior marketing manager, sports and grassroots
914/253-2000

Targets/Objectives/Key Activations: The independent operating unit of Pepsi-Cola North America has launched a new sponsorship program following the introduction of Essential Energy–positioned as a healthier, more natural alternative to other energy drinks–and the end of its partnership with action sports apparel company No Fear, Inc. for a co-branded beverage. SoBe has dropped ties to motorsports and extreme sports. Looks for green events where it can play up its eco-friendly positioning. For example, last month’s Natural Selection snowboarding event was conducted on natural terrain, not a man-made course. Activates with retail promotions and on-site sampling.

Decision-making Structure: Stephenson screens and signs off on ties.

Current Sponsorships: Co-title: Cannondale Mountain Bike Team. Cosponsor: Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, Manchester, Tenn.; Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships, Stratton, Vt.; Quiksilver Natural Selection All Mountain Freestyle Invitational, Jackson Hole, Wyo. snowboarding event; Surfrider Foundation; Teva Mountain Games, Vail, Colo.

Additional Comments: Sponsors U.S. Open of Snowboarding as part of larger SoBe brand deal with Burton Snowboards that includes a tie to the Burton AM Series, Burton Demo Tour and other events. Recently signed endorsement deal with snowboarder phenom and Winter X Games standout Kevin Pearce; dropped deals with FMX competitor Wiley Fullmer and other extreme sports athletes. In keeping with its green positioning, distributes T-shirts made with organic cotton and samples product in biodegradable cups.