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Celsius, the Florida-based energy-drink brand, seems to be in every corner store these days.
The brand repositioned itself from a weight-loss drink to a “fitness lifestyle drink” in 2012, EVP of Marketing Kyle Watson told Marketing Brew, but it didn’t really “surge in popularity” until around 2020, when the pandemic hit.
She declined to comment on marketing spend, but said the brand remains “adamant” about connecting to consumers via micro to macro influencers.
This year, Celsius inked an endorsement deal with social media personality turned pro boxer Jake Paul and hosted a pickleball tournament at David Dobrik’s house as it seeks to continue building awareness of its brand.
No pain, no gain
When Paul expressed interest in collaborating, it took some convincing on the Celsius team’s behalf, Watson said, but when they learned he was serious about his interest in the brand as well as his career as an athlete—he had just signed with the Professional Fighters League, which Celsius sponsors—they changed their tune on partnering up.
“He came to us, loved our brand, and that seemed like an amazing opportunity,” Watson said, noting that his following presents a “huge opportunity” for Celsius: Paul has more than 42 million followers across Instagram and TikTok, plus more than 20 million YouTube subscribers.
“Obviously, we’re going to get those impressions, and we’re going to get the people in his community and touch them, but I think the opportunity was there to do it in a way that made sense.”
The partnership extends beyond social, according to Watson, with IRL elements like branding on Paul’s fight gear, as well as branded content in his YouTube show and podcast, BS w/ Jake Paul.
Go big or go home
Celsius has also found wide reach through its partnership with David Dobrik: The brand hosted a celebrity pickleball tournament last month at his LA home with about 200 attendees, including celebrities like actor Taylor Lautner, model Olivia Culpo, and Bachelor franchise alums Matt James and Tyler Cameron. The event saw more than 3 billion media impressions and more than 31 million social impressions, including over 400 tagged mentions, according to Celsius.
Like Paul, Dobrik has a large online following. But even when working with influencers, Watson said Celsius is looking for more than viral moments on social, including media mentions that give the brand more national attention.
“You’re driving social radiation from those events, but at the same time, getting all of those photo moments with our brand in the background, and having a really unique event that we’re able to leverage that’s completely owned, is really important for us.” Watson said. “It can’t just all be about social media.”