SBJ/Sept. 1-7, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Startup water brand uses NFL star power

While PepsiCo’s Dasani water and Gatorade’s isotonic beverage have NFL marketing rights under the company’s massive league deal, startup bottled water brand Formula Four is hoping the star power of New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and other NFL players will help it gain retail distribution and brand awareness.

The New Orleans Saints’ Sean Payton is among Formula Four’s endorsers.

Formula Four, a “functional beverage” that positions itself as something that hydrates and is an oxygen supplement, is pushing into the Southeast U.S. with distribution at retailers such as Albertsons and the 548-store Winn-Dixie grocery chain.

Activated Stabilized Oxygen (ASO) is added to Formula Four in the bottling process. The supplement, consisting of a hybrid oxygen molecule called O4, is proprietary to parent company Glas Water. Product benefit claims range from improved stamina and mental acuity to a better immune system and even a cure for hangovers. It features the tag: “Created by science. Proven by Athletes.” The “oxygenated water” launched in Canada last year, using a handful of NHL personalities, including Wayne Gretzky, as spokesmen.

In the U.S., Payton, along with the NFL Network’s Michael Irvin and Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron, will appear in point-of-sale and digital/social testimonial ads. Brand CMO Allan Klassen said Formula Four’s endorsers receive a percentage of profits for sales in their home markets. 

Formula Four is priced at about $2.50 a bottle, more than most waters, but competitive with isotonics such as Gatorade.

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