NEW YORK, NY — At a press event held earlier this week, FUZE Beverage LLC announced that it has entered into a license agreement with Speedo Swimwear to produce a new line of bottled performance waters. The new brand will be called “Speedo Sportswater” and will operate under a new division of FUZE which will be known as Performance Waters, LLC.
Speedo Sportswater is an enhanced water beverage which, according to FUZE, is designed for everyone who enjoys an active lifestyle, from Olympic athletes to health club regulars to weekend warriors. The new product will be produced in four flavors and will be on the market in time for a late spring launch.
BevNET was given a chance to try the new product at the NYC launch. The flavors that we sampled were amazing – the products have a nice level of sweetness with only 10 calories. The flavors were produced by WILD Flavors and a representative that was on hand told us that this was one of the most challenging soft drink projects they had worked on in a while. The hard work will payoff – Speedo Sportswater has the right stuff in the bottle to go up against Gatorade Propel. Having Speedo’s brand on the product won’t hurt either – it’s the #1 swimwear brand and the #4 overall sportswear brand, plus it ranks higher in fashion awareness than Tiffany, Gucci, Gap, and Abercrombie & Fitch.
In tandem with the new product announcement, FUZE made two key personnel additions — industry legends Bob Miller (as COO) and Howard Wishner (as EVP of Corporate Communications). Both Bob and Howard were formerly of SoBe – where they were a key part of SoBe’s transformation from an unknown beverage called “South Beach” into the “Lizard King” that it was when it was sold to Pepsi for over $300 million in 2000. “The SoBe A-Team is Back”, according to Wishner, who sees big potential with the new Speedo Sportswater and the existing FUZE product lines.
The combination of the new product and the new personnel instantly boost FUZE’s stock in the industry. Speedo is a name that brings the product instant mass-market potential. Lance Collins, founder and CEO of FUZE Beverages agrees: “The best opportunity to deliver and break through the clutter is with a well-known trademark that translates into branded water.”
Of course, FUZE isn’t the first company to take a well known trademark into a bottled water product. Clearly Canadian failed partnership with Reebok recently came to a close after several volatile years. Granted Reebok isn’t a name which translates into branded water, but both Collins and Wishner acknowledged that there was a lot to learn from the Clearly Canadian/Reebok partnership.
Finally, there’s one more challenge, which is in fact the biggest challenge of all: going up the against the empire of Gatorade, who currently owns the market leader with its Propel product line. Their brand is still the most valuable name in enhanced waters and sports drinks, so FUZE and Speedo are clearly going to have a fight ahead of them.
What do we think of their chances? Excellent. The combination of an excellent tasting product, a well known brand in Speedo, and a team with a proven track record definitely starts things off on the right foot.
Stay tuned for more coverage of Speedo Sportswater.