NASCAR driver Bobby Grewohl shaved his head and endured his first makeup session today in New York City. It was a bit of a change for the small-town racer.
“My head’s shiny,” Grewohl said. “They’ve got to dim it down a little bit.”
After a photo shoot, Grewohl, the Hollister, Calif. native, joined representatives of 989 On Demand, a hydrating enhanced beverage with its functional ingredients stored in a mix-to-drink cap, for a guerilla marketing effort in the city streets.
Along with shooting photos and advertisements for the brand, Grewohl is talking to everybody he runs into about the drink that he’ll advertise on his car and racing suit.
Grewohl joined the 989 team to travel in a colorful truck throughout Manhattan, starting in the Financial District and heading uptown, and eventually the other boroughs of New York City, offering free samples and spreading posters and signs wherever they can.
“He actually believes in it, which is 95 percent of the battle,” said Greg Piagesi, senior vice president for 989 On Demand.
The inside of a race car can reach 150 degrees and a driver can lose up to 10 pounds in a four-hour race. To help restore the diminishing water weight and electrolytes in the heat of a race, Grewohl said that 989 serves as an ideal option.
“I want to be at the peak of my game, so I need to drink the correct product,” he said.
Grewohl also said that with no calories or sugar, he prefers 989 to well-known sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade.
“It doesn’t give you the bloating feeling or the slush gut,” he said.
Exclusive Beverage distributes 989 in New York. The product was released in March and is also distributed by other wholesalers in parts of Maine, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 989 is an all-natural beverage with 9 vitamins, 84 ionic minerals and 5 electrolytes, and contains no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners. The product comes in six different SKUs; punch, orange, kiwi strawberry, pomegranate blueberry, grape and lemon lime. It also features a twistable, airtight cap that aims to preserve the product’s freshness.
“When you twist and release it,” Piagesi said of the cap, “you’re getting exactly what’s on the bottle.”
Piagesi also noted that 989 recently signed a deal with GNC, the nutritional supplement company, and that the beverage will soon be found on GNC’s website and in GNC stores nationwide. This meshes with the business plan of 989 — Piagesi expects national expansion for the brand “pretty soon.”
The cap-activated, mix-to-drink space is a small but competitive one, with products like Activate and Karma Water, having been joined recently by specialty entries like Ahhmigo and others.