XYIENCE Replaces Cage Fights with College Football in Brand Relaunch

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 11.59.16 AMA year after its acquisition by Austin,Texas-based soda company Big Red, Xyience has kicked off a new marketing campaign, overhauling the energy drink brand’s image with new packaging and adding a spokesperson in ESPN College GameDay reporter Samantha Ponder. The company today unveiled its new look scheduled to coincide with the premiere of a television commercial starring Ponder. The ad will air begin airing next week and continue through the fall during nationally televised NCAA college football games on ESPN.

Prior to its acquisition, Xyience was tightly tied to its association with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the largest league for mixed martial arts. While contractual obligations initiated its divorce from the prizefighting powerhouse, the brand utilized its clean slate as an opportunity to reposition Xyience and veer away from a combat sport.

“It was a bit of a conundrum,” said Thomas Oh, Big Red’s Senior Vice President of Marketing. “Xyience is this zero-calorie, great tasting, and very broadly appealing product but it was tied to a really polarizing platform.”

The company’s return to the drawing board resulted in a marketing shift targeting the “older millennial,” a 27-37-year-old demographic that Oh (who cited 2015 Mintel data) says is increasing in its consumption of energy beverages. Furthermore, as an exclusively zero-calorie line of beverages, Xyience taking a more gender-neutral stance allowed it to appeal more to females, a traditional consumer of zero-calorie energy drinks. With that the partnership with college football and Ponder was born.

“As a new mom with a hectic work schedule, partnering with XYIENCE is a natural fit,” Ponder said in a Xyience press release. “I used to turn to sugary lattes for energy, but now XYIENCE’s great tasting flavors give me the boost I need without the calories and sugar.”

The company’s new can design drops the “Xenergy’ tagline as well as its barcode icon, which has been substituted with a lightning bolt “Power Charge” icon. As for what’s inside the cans, the formulation of the brand’s core eight flavors remains unchanged. Xyience has, however, discontinued its lemonade and tea line extensions.