PRO-NRG is a protein loaded sports drink that will pour into the Shark Tank for episode 406. Entrepreneur Tania Patrunol, a New Jersey resident and Giants fan, enlists the help of New York Giants all time rushing touchdowns leader Brandon Jacobs in her pitch to the Sharks. Jacobs played seven years with the Giants and signed with the San Francisco 49ers as a free agent in March, 2012.
PRO-NRG in crowded, but lucrative space
Energy drinks are a ten plus $Billion industry that has seen sustained, double-digit growth over the past ten years. The market has small players and big players alike with companies like Coca Cola and Pepsi in the game along with hundreds of other players from multinational corporations to small, regional operators. PRO-NRG fits into the latter category, at least for now.
What makes PRO-NRG unique is, in addition to the standard vitamins and natural energy boosting supplements, it has 15 grams of protein. PRO-NRG claims it “delivers the perfect pre-workout burst of energy that's needed for maximum performance. Then provides the perfect post-activity energy replenishment, re-hydration and recovery.” Other than the funky protein shakes you find at GNC and other health and vitamin supplement stores, there is no mass market protein drink, certainly not one that tastes like fruit punch!
PRO-NRG endorsed by Brandon Jacobs and other NFL Stars
PRO-NRG has quite a front man in Brandon Jacobs. The two-time Super Bowl winner is a visible and well liked athlete, perfect for touting a sports/energy drink. He's lined up a bunch of his NFL buddies to tout the product too. The PRO-NRG website is loaded with video endorsements.
This is a great marketing strategy for sports drinks aimed at professional athletes, amateur athletes and weekend warriors. Vitamin Water used sports star and celebrity endorsements early on in its corporate life and was sold to Coca Cola for $4.1 Billion. Sports stars and celebrities traded their endorsements for equity in the company. Big Papi of the Boston Red Sox was an early endorser. Rapper 50 Cent cleared $400 million in the Vitamin Water deal. Clearly an athlete or celebrity who jumps on the right sports drink bandwagon early in the game can really clean up.
Do the Sharks drink the PRO-NRG Koolaid?
If PRO-NRG has even moderate sales, the juice Brandon Jacobs brings to the deal will surely have the sharks sniffing for a deal. While other energy drinks, most recently Cougar Energy, have not fared well in the Shark Tank, they didn't have the cache of a Super Bowl winning, bone crunching running back of Jacobs' caliber. If the Sharks are smart, they'll realize the benefit Jacobs brings to the PRO-NRG brand.
On the PRO-NRG website, they are announcing the product will be in “your local 7-11 store.” Daymond John has mentioned his connections with 7-11 in the Shark Tank before, so maybe he likes the combination of celebrity endorser and innovative energy drink in brand building. He has to be aware of the Vitamin Water story, so he (and the other sharks) will see the enormous upside. The combination of Brandon Jacobs, a growing multi-billion dollar space, the pending 7-11 presence, and the Shark Tank has me “ALL IN” on PRO-NRG.