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Kobe Bryant’s first TV ad for Body Armor drink airs tonight, aims to take on Gatorade and Powerade

Former basketball star Kobe Bryant has written and narrated a TV commercial for sports drink Body Armor, as part of a push to compete with Gatorade, the PepsiCo-owned brand that has been around for 44 years and currently leads the market.

Body Armor's TV campaign focuses on the obsession athletes have about their sport, and features basketball player Skylar Diggins, NFL quarterback Andrew Luck and golfer Dustin Johnson among others. The ad is already online, and will debut tonight on TNT during the NBA playoffs.

The commercial sees the sportspeople training in a black-and-white film, while Bryant narrates: "There's only one thing that separates the bad from the good. The good from the great. The greats from the legends. Just one thing. Obsession."

Body Armor currently has a 2.5 percent share of the sports drink market, said Michael Fedele, its vice president of marketing, in an email to CNBC, and it is projected to take 5 to 6 percent by the end of the year, equivalent to $250 - $300 million in sales.

Fedele added that sales for the first quarter of 2017 were larger than the whole of 2015, and claimed that it is "trending" to be larger than both Gatorade's G2 and Coca-Cola's Powerade Zero by the end of this year.

Golfer Dustin Johnson in the ad for BodyArmor
BodyArmor
Golfer Dustin Johnson in the ad for BodyArmor

Mike Repole, chairman of Body Armor, has stated that the company aims for its drink to lead the market, and claims that athletes are looking for a "better-for-you" option, Fedele said in an email to CNBC.

Bryant, who bought a stake in Body Armor in 2013, has said that he wants to be known for his desire to help entrepreneurs be successful over his basketball career. He launched $100 million investment fund Bryant Stibel with former Web.com Chief Executive Jeff Stibel in 2016, after retiring from the NBA that year.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group is also an investor, putting $20 million into BA Sports Nutrition in August 2015, owner of Body Armor.

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