SBD/May 5, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Sheets Of Integrity: LeBron, Maverick Carter Launch Brand Of Energy Strips

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Heat F LeBron James and LRMR CEO Maverick Carter yesterday announced that they have teamed with Dale & Thomas Popcorn Founder Warren Struhl and Marquis Jet Partners co-Founder Jesse Itzler to form PureBrands LLC, a holding company whose inaugural product will be Sheets energy strips. The product launch, set for June, will be supported initially with a $10M marketing campaign leveraging Sheets' relationship with James, as well as the brand's partnership with Knicks F Amar'e Stoudemire, Ravens RB Ray Rice and musicians Drake and Pitbull. The campaign will incorporate social media, traditional advertising and sampling programs (PureBrands). CNBC.com's Darren Rovell noted Sheets "got a jumpstart on its $10 million marketing campaign last week thanks" to a "brilliant viral video" with Nuggets F Danilo Gallinari. The video got "almost 200,000 hits on YouTube in less than a week" (CNBC.com, 5/4). Struhl, who will serve as PureBrands CEO, said, "We have a plan, a road map to ensure that our product gets ahead of anybody that wants to try to come into the market, particularly utilizing LeBron and others as the face of our brand." The AP's Tim Reynolds reported the product is "expected to be available internationally by year's end." PureBrands said that "much effort was made to ensure that the product would not trigger positive drug tests for elite athletes." This marks the "second major business announcement from James in four weeks." Last month, he signed with Fenway Sports Management and obtained a "small ownership stake of Liverpool FC." Still, James insisted that "having that much business-related activity around the most important part of the Heat season is not an issue." Carter added, "LeBron's focus is on the Boston Celtics right now. That's what he cares about. I focus on this, he focuses on that" (AP, 5/4).

ENERGY BOOST: Struhl said that Sheets "will begin shipping nationwide the third week of May to its launch partner, GNC, and to 25,000 to 30,000 smaller format stores that sell energy products." Stoudemire, a Sheets investor and endorser, said, "I use mine whenever, definitely before games and if I have a long day" (ESPN.com, 5/4). Itzler said, "What we're learning is that a lot of athletes just don't love the sugary drinks and they don't love the bloating and a lot of energy drinks have calories. So we think this is a little bit of a better mousetrap, and professional athletes and recreational athletes and people at work are just gravitating toward this kind of delivery system" ("Street Signs," CNBC, 5/4).
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