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PRIME Hydration: A Viral Influencer Marketing Success Story

It is becoming a common occurrence in the broad expanse of the digital marketplace. Social media influencers capture a myriad of brand endorsements seeking to take advantage of popularity and an impressive number of followers. Attaching a product or service to popular social media influencers is not new or unfamiliar. In fact, virtually everyone has heard of social media influencers and how they are professionalizing brand advocacy.

In 2022, the influencer market was valued at $16.4 billion with 93 percent of brands actively engaging in the social media marketing space. Fifty percent of consumers say they have made a purchase based on a social media influencer, and more than 70 percent of Millennials and Gen Z consumers actively participated in influencer marketing last year. But two former rivals from the boxing and wrestling world are becoming mega-successful as mega influencers.

Former boxer Logan Paul has joined up with rival KSI to jump the ropes of the boxing ring and into a new sport and energy drink business, and their entrance has eclipsed any rational definition of success. With a combined 70 million YouTube subscribers, the two influencers put competitive prowess behind the hydration and sport beverage they created, PRIME Hydration. The official PRIME YouTube account has more than 1.2 million followers scanning the marketplace for the elusive product.

PRIME Hydration is a sports drink that claims to be a naturally flavored beverage containing 10% coconut water, antioxidants, 300 mg of electrolytes, 200 mg of caffeine, and zero sugar. Last year PRIME Hydration garnered a “punched-drunk” $250 million in sales.

Flavors include Lemonade, Strawberry Watermelon, Meta Moon. Ice Pop, Blue Raspberry, Orange, Lemon Lime, Grape, and Tropical Punch. A six-pack of ready-to-consume 16.9-ounce bottles sells for $29.99 and a six-pack of ready-to-mix pounder “sticks” commands $13.99. But the hype surrounding the drink has created such a demand that prices can reach as much as 10 times that on some social media outlets. While grocer Aldi is now the official seller, the PRIME website lists the products’ availability at GNC, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, The Vitamin Shoppe, Kroger, CVS, and Target. But don’t be in a rush to jump into the ring and stock up on your favorite flavors, because even if these vendors have inventory, they may have limitations on the purchase quantity permitted per customer.

While some consider the influencers’ knock-out success as “flash-in-the-pan and “overnight”, Logan Paul and KSI have been perfecting the marketing rope-a-dope for more than ten years. User-generated content has expedited the duo’s success across multiple channels of digital media, and the two demonstrate a remarkable understanding of the targeted 16- to 25-year-old fans. PRIME Hydration utilizes bright, multi-colored bottles and packaging which is favored by the brand’s younger audience. The created hype around the product delivers a sense of fear of “missing out” among fans of the beverage who also like its limited availability. Many ringside, professional marketers are claiming the social media pair have deliberately restricted the supply to create and continue the buzz, a claim they deny saying the biggest goals for the collaborative effort are taste and hydration.

Recently PRIME Hydration partnered with Arsenal FC to promote the brand’s credibility with its key target audience. PRIME, originally only available in the US and UK, is now the official “Global Sports Drinks” of the UFC, which will allow it to reach 900 million additional households across 175 countries. It is expected that the brand will expand into additional products in order to become a top contender in the sports beverage bout. But like many viral social media success stories, PRIME is attracting some formidable opposition.

PRIME Energy has been banned in a number of schools across the country due to its high caffeine content and controversial promotional tactics. Even the company’s website states that it is not recommended for “children under the age of 18, women who are pregnant or nursing, or individuals who are sensitive to caffeine.”  Dr Deborah Lee, from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy, says, “I would not recommend children drink Prime energy drinks or other energy drinks for children of any age.” She goes on to say, “Children don’t need energy drinks anyway – they have plenty of energy! Children are actively growing, and their brain, nervous system and heart function and development are crucial for their future health. Caffeine acts at all these sites and it would be unwise to recommend any substances which could have any deleterious effect.”

But the health concerns for children are not having any noticeable impact on the products’ viral success. The Logan Paul and KSI partnership has made a seemingly unrelenting connection with the powerful influencer marketing phenomenon.