PepsiCo did it again with its new beverage brand Starry being named the official soft drink brand of the NBA, WNBA and NBA G League in North America for this season.
Starry’s lemon-lime soda is the title sponsor for the NBA All-Star 3-Point Contest, which includes a new shot contest with a dedicated Starry Range and custom Wilson basketballs. This partnership will be introduced during the NBA All-Star 2023 weekend in February through advertisements and on-site activations.
PepsiCo is leveraging a heavy marketing muscle behind the beverage as it looks to get an edge on rival Sprite and win over Gen Z consumers. Starry will also be present at the NBA Crossover fan event through its work with players, a separate shooting challenge and sampling of regular and zero-sugar variants.
The drink only hit shelves a few weeks ago, but it’s already become a significant component of PepsiCo’s sports-marketing strategy. The new sponsorship deal with the NBA, WNBA and NBA G League builds on PepsiCo’s connection to basketball and speaks to a shared desire between the organizations to connect with a younger generation of fans.
Starry's product positioning is a “purpose-driven brand built for Generation Z” in promotional materials and emphasizes fun and sustainability. The lemon-lime offering is primed to replace laggard Sierra Mist in PepsiCo’s portfolio and vies to be a more formidable competitor against Coke’s Sprite.
PepsiCo’s History With the NBA
PepsiCo became professional basketball's official food and beverage partner in 2015 as part of an agreement encompassing Aquafina, Brisk, Doritos, Gatorade and Ruffles. But Mtn Dew has been the focus on the soft drink front, with Starry now stepping up to offer a “fresh perspective” and enhance fan and game experiences, according to executives.
“It has an attitude that embraces the irreverent optimism of our consumers and basketball fans alike,” said Michael Smith, senior director of brand marketing at Starry, in a statement.
PepsiCo is leveraging the NBA All-Star 2023 bonanza that runs Feb. 17-19 in Salt Lake City, Utah, to familiarize the public with Starry and strengthen an association with basketball.
Moreover, Starry’s official list of athlete spokespeople includes Zion Williamson, Zach LaVine and Klay Thompson from the NBA, along with WNBA star A’ja Wilson.