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Body Armor’s Kobe Bryant Signing Comes as Momentum Builds, even in Winter-Bound Northeast Body Armor’s recruitment of LA Lakers star Kobe Bryant as key investor seems to rank as brilliant stroke of timing by ceo Mike Repole: it’s occurred as brand has been building momentum at several key wholesalers and may finally become significant brand in their portfolios this summer.
Bryant deal, announced on ESPN on Sun night, makes Bryant’s new vehicle Kobe Inc a significant investor, to tune of several million dollars and perhaps 10% stake of overall co, behind only former Glaceau exec Repole and brand creator and ex-Fuze exec Lance Collins. Tho tie remained hush-hush until now, partners claim injured Bryant, ready to take stock of his post-NBA career, already has exercised significant behind-scenes role, tho deal doesn’t necessarily call for him to take overt role as TV endorser along lines of other Body Armor athletes such as LeSean McCoy and Rob Gronkowski. But that may not much matter, given oodles of media coverage that affiliation has garnered over past coupla days. “My phone rang off the hook yesterday,” said Jerry Reda, coo of NY distributor Big Geyser, adding that he was inundated with “phone calls, texts and tweets” from people who wanted to know where to find brand. He said impact was far greater than when rapper 50 Cent created influential partnership with Vitaminwater last decade, aided no doubt by powerful role social media exert these days. Still, “I never realized how powerful Kobe is” in people’s imaginations, he said. Story co is putting out is that Bryant first discovered brand last summer during rehab and reached out to Repole as he laid plans for entrepreneurial phase of career along lines of Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. Many believe he’ll retire at conclusion of new 2-year contract. “I was already a fan of Body Armor but after a few conversations with Mike I knew I wanted to be more than just a consumer,” Bryant said in statement issued by co. Both he and Collins live in LA, where co is based, while Repole operates from NY.
Strong Momentum Even in Harsh Winter, Say Boston, NY Wholesalers As reported, as Repole stepped up involvement over past year he scrapped extraneous ingredients in favor of emphasis on electrolytes, vitamins, and coconut water, yielding better flavor and lower cost structure. He dropped price to $1.99, put plans for lower-calorie subline on back burner and made West Coast and Northeast key focuses, while putting army of samplers out into market. While many in trade outside brand’s footprint seem to hold to belief that Body Armor is languishing, that’s refuted by 2 key wholesalers in Northeast. Both claim brand bested its peak-summer numbers from last year during brutal winter that hasn’t yet relinquished its grip, and say it’s well ahead of growth pace of Vitaminwater in that brand’s early days. Up in Boston, Great State’s Ron Fournier said brand has grown briskly across all channels, including large-format retailers like Tedeschi’s, indie stores in Boston and southern NH, and increasing array of schools, particularly private schools like Philips Exeter Academy. Brand could break 3K cases this month, besting last summer’s monthly performance, and Fournier envisions Body Armor as doing 6-7K cases per month this coming spring and summer. Price reduction, which he’d urged, proved crucial, and he instructs sales reps not to get too bogged down in technical attributes of bev but rather to “glamorize” it, job helped along by Bryant’s presence. At Big Geyser, Reda noted that during Feb/Mar of NY’s worst winter since 1970s, brand grew 60%+ vs year-earlier period and bested its performance during peak summer months of 2013. “It’s more advanced after 2 years than Vitaminwater was in year 4,” he maintained. “We’re seeing it explode after some rough months.” Body Armor’s LA wholesaler, Haralambos, couldn’t be reached today, in past has expressed satisfaction with brand’s progress, despite being in launch market where earlier mistakes had greatest impact. All 3 wholesalers are believed to hold equity stakes in brand, as they once did in Vitaminwater marketer Glaceau during Repole’s tenure there.
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As an effective beverage executive, you need to explore all potential avenues for revenue growth and margin enhancement. Beverage Business Insights -BBI-gives you the info you need to keep up with the latest trends in the dynamic world of non-alcoholic beverages. It's produced by the same team that brings you Beer Marketer's Insights, and is written with the needs of beer wholesalers specifically in mind: straightforward, to the point, and with a street-savvy orientation. BBI helps you to separate the news from the noise.
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