Following its multi-million dollar naming rights contract for the Nitro SuperGP over the next three years, Nitro Energy Drink will expand its brand internationally while pursuing other branding opportunities in the Australian sports arena. The company has stepped up its commitment from sponsoring the Miss Indy Volleyball last year to becoming the event’s key sponsor in 2009. Joint managing director Matt Nielsen says the timing and synergy of the deal suited the brand as it prepares to hit top gear in the competitive energy drink market.
What was the catalyst in cementing this deal with the SuperGP (former Indy 300) with IMG and the State Government?
We were out sourcing opportunities in the market and the SuperGP had obvious synergies. Like the Nitro SuperGP, our products are for everyone and being a proud Queensland and Australian-based company, we have had our eye on a major event for a long time. For this opportunity to present itself at this stage of our company’s growth is fantastic for everyone involved and we look forward to accelerating our brand’s position and our sales through a positive and rewarding relationship.
You have committed more than $3 million to the event over the next three years. What kind of return on your investment are you expecting?
It was a lot of money, but a great investment. It’s about seeing the opportunities. Are you going to back yourself or sit on the sidelines? We are 150 per cent confident that we’re going to achieve what we set out to do. It’s about being strategic and we’re here for the long haul.
Your slogan ‘go hard or go home’ is obviously one that aligns the brand with endurance and extreme sports. Do you not think it’s a little dated in today’s market given it was hatched in the mid 1990s?
The slogan we have associated with Nitro Energy Drinks is ‘Go hard, or go home’ and in a lot of respects that is a perfect fit for one of the world’s most exciting and entertainment-packed events which really does test a fan’s stamina. Also we have sponsored events like the Coolangatta Gold and ironmen and women Shannon Eckstein and Hayley Bateup and also triathlons. When you talk about giving it your all, it doesn’t get much tougher than those guys. It fits our work ethic too. It’s all about putting 100 per cent effort into what we do.
What kind of presence are you having in the retail space? Any distribution deals with the major chains?
We have had a number of deals on the table since inception. All of the majors love the drink and we expect this event to accelerate the decision making process with some of those major shopping chains.
What offshore markets are you tapping into and how will the SuperGP assist the brand to export?
We are in talks with people in Asia, the US and the UK. This is a new foundation for us. This is purely about the synergy and if it feels good you make it happen. We were looking to produce the product here in Australia and we’re proud to be Gold Coast-based and a part of the grand prix mix. It’s a new foundation but we have a lot in common. We are looking at global expansion but focussing on our own backyard first.
Your main competitor is the Red Bull drink brand. How difficult is it to leverage share in today’s tough economic climate?
Red Bull was the founder in the whole energy drink market. While we touch on extreme sport, it’s not about leveraging market share, but about supporting Australian sports and events. It’s a big market and we have a global perspective but are very much focussed on what we do. We have been on the international stage with snowboarding and with our swimsuit brand, but we are focussing on the SuperGP at the moment.
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