PepsiCo’s new Starry brand named official soft drink of NBA, WNBA
Dive Brief: PepsiCo’s new Starry beverage brand has been named the official soft drink of the NBA, WNBA and NBA G League in North America, according to a press release. The partnership will be introduced during NBA All-Star Weekend 2023 later in February through advertisements and on-site activations. The lemon-lime soda is the title sponsor of the NBA All-Star 3-Point Contest, which this year includes a new shooting contest with a dedicated Starry Range and custom Wilson basketballs. Starry will also be present at the NBA Crossover fan event thanks to his work with players, a separate shooting challenge, and a sampling of regular and sugar-free variants. PepsiCo is putting a heavy marketing push behind the drink as it seeks to gain an edge over rival Sprite and win over Gen Z consumers. Dive Overview:
Starry only started shipping a few weeks ago, but it has already become a major part of parent company PepsiCo’s sports marketing strategy. The new sponsorship deal with the NBA, WNBA and NBA G League builds on PepsiCo’s existing relationship with basketball and signals a shared desire between the organizations to connect with a younger generation of fans.
Starry positions itself as a “purpose-driven brand designed for Gen Z” in promotional materials and emphasizes themes such as fun and sustainability. The lemon-lime offering is set to replace latecomer Sierra Mist in PepsiCo’s portfolio and is vying to be a tougher competitor against Coke’s Sprite.
PepsiCo became the official food and beverage partner of professional basketball in 2015 in an agreement that includes Aquafina, Brisk, Doritos, Gatorade and Ruffles. But Mtn Dew has been emphasizing the soft drinks front, with Starry now stepping up to provide a “fresh perspective” and improve fan and gaming experiences, executives say.
“He has an attitude that embraces the irreverent optimism of our consumers and basketball fans,” Michael Smith, Starry’s senior brand marketing manager, said in a statement.
PepsiCo is leveraging the 2023 NBA All-Star bonanza, which runs Feb. 17-19 in Salt Lake City, Utah, to acquaint the public with Starry and strengthen an association with the game of basketball. Alongside events such as the Starry 3-Point Contest and NBA Crossover, the soft drink offering will run a new ad featuring “notable talent” and surprise guests over the weekend, though the names specific were not shared.
Starry’s official list of athlete spokespersons includes the NBA’s Zion Williamson, Zach LaVine and Klay Thompson, as well as WNBA star A’ja Wilson. Starry also acts as the presenting sponsor of the WNBA All-Star 3-Point Contest and supports the women’s league WNBA Live fan festival.