The drinks market is incredibly competitive, with any brand planning on launching a new beverage needing to find a truly distinctive point of difference in order to gain traction. PRIME Hydration, a ‘better for you’ drinks company, has identified what it hopes will be its competitive differentiator - its founders. The faces behind the brand are global internet celebrities YouTube boxing and rapping sensation KSI and former boxing rival and podcaster Logan Paul. Between them they have over 130 million followers and, so one could argue, a ready-made audience who will readily buy into their collective ‘brand’.
Their strategy would initially appear to be working. PRIME Hydration launched in the States on 4th January, quickly gaining 700,000 Instagram followers and a listing with many of America’s biggest retailers. It’s the first time that two celebrity influencers have launched a low cost FMCG product hoping to rival the likes of Lucozade and Gatorade, and it’s one of the most talked-about drink launches ever in the online world, with their reveal livestream attracting over half a million concurrent viewers.
All of this adds up to millions of dollars’ worth of ‘free’ advertising, with the added benefit that the KSI and Logan Paul communities are also sharing news of the launch - and going viral - on YouTube and TikTok.
The product packaging, five brightly coloured monochromatic bottles featuring the Prime logo as hero, delivers real visual standout at fixture with a minimal, impactful design architecture contributing to brand blocking. The physical design of the bottle incorporates four concentric indentations subliminally reminiscent of the large water containers often seen on office water coolers, creating a subconscious connection between the brand and the concept of hydration.
As with any brand, the proof, as they say, is in the pudding and PRIME Hydration will only succeed in the longer term if the product experience lives up to the hype. Initial reviews are very positive with regards to the flavours, and stores are selling out to the point that the bottles are selling for 5x their retail value on the secondary market. A potential future challenge for the brand may lie in its ability to appeal to an older audience who are not familiar with KSI and Logan and for whom the brand personality may outweigh perception of the product deliverables.
It’s all a question of balance when it comes to brand versus product delivery. Capitalising on their personalities to launch to a warm audience of loyal followers will work in the short term, but the brand's longer-term success in growing the business may depend on broadening its appeal to an audience who may have no empathy with the founders, with the risk that their personalities overshadow the product promise.
PRIME Hydration launches in the UK in February and it will be interesting to see how the brand is received here. If PRIME Hydration is a success, the FMCG market may well be witness to the launch of a whole new range of product launches capitalising on the success of internet celebrities.