Food & Beverage

PepsiCo unveils new line of Mountain Dew energy drinks with Lebron James' endorsement

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Key Points
  • PepsiCo is launching a new line of energy drinks called Mtn Dew Rise Energy as the company doubles down on its bet on the category.
  • The line is meant to appeal to energy-drink fans and draw in new consumers who usually stick to coffee or juice.
  • NBA superstar LeBron James will be the face of the line, making his first product endorsement for PepsiCo.

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PepsiCo's new line of Mtn Dew Rise Energy drinks
PepsiCo

PepsiCo, with an assist from NBA superstar LeBron James, is hoping to win over coffee drinkers with a new line of energy drinks under its Mountain Dew brand by touting its taste and ability to invigorate consumers.

Mtn Dew Rise Energy contains roughly the same amount of caffeine in one can as two cups of coffee. Every 16-ounce can also includes vitamins A and C and zinc to support the immune system. Its ingredients also include citicoline, which is often used in supplements that claim to boost memory. Pepsi has been leaning into functional beverages, like Driftwell, which is meant to help consumers sleep.

Fabiola Torres, chief marketing officer of PepsiCo Energy, said the company knows that it's got stiff competition in the energy-drink category, so it wanted to create a product line that would appeal to more than just the typical consumer who buys energy drinks. Mtn Dew Rise Energy will also help Pepsi compete against upstarts in the category that are touting healthier energy drinks such as MatchaBar or Mati Energy, which derive a caffeine punch from tea.

The new line is available in six flavors: Pomegranate Blue Burst, Orange Breeze, Strawberry Melon Spark, Tropical Sunrise, Berry Blitz and Peach Mango Dawn.

"There's a lot of rejecters out there that think that energy drinks don't taste good, so we ... wanted to stand for a flavor-forward drink," said Torres.

Coca-Cola and Pepsi have been pushing into energy drinks as soda consumption has fallen. Energy drinks generated $14.15 billion in retail sales last year, according to Euromonitor International. In early 2020, Pepsi bought Rockstar Energy for $3.85 billion and revamped the brand.

The company has also been leaning on the Mountain Dew brand, which is known for its high caffeine content, to launch new energy drinks. According to Euromonitor, Mountain Dew holds about 7% market share in carbonated soft drinks, putting it in fifth place. In 2018, Pepsi launched Mtn Dew Amp Game Fuel, aimed at video gamers.

"It's not about creating another extension under Mountain Dew, it's about creating another brand under the Mountain Dew family," Torres said.

James will serve as the face for the new product. He signed an endorsement deal with PepsiCo earlier this year after 18 years with the company's archrival Coke. Pepsi said James will endorse other products in its portfolio, including snacks. According to Torres, Pepsi will work with other influencers outside of James to promote the product.

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