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Venus Williams Does Q&A With Brandweek Regarding Powerade Zero Partnership

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Venus Williams is now the face of Powerade Zero. The tennis icon announced her partnership agreement with the zero-calorie sports drink last week.

Powerade, which is marketed by the same the team that handles Glacéau Vitaminwater, hopes Williams will help attract exercisers who are looking to shed calories from their sports drink. The strategy is similar to that of Vitaminwater, which has deals with an array of athletes from the New York Mets David Wright to the Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James and, most recently, Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant.

The Coca-Cola, which owns both brands, launched Powerade in 2001. The sports drink has slowly chipped away at Gatorade garnering 19% of the category, per
Beverage Digest, Bedford Hills, N.Y. However, sales were off slightly in the first quarter. Powerade spent $10.3 million on media last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Brandweek News Editor Kenneth Hein swapped e-mails with Williams asking her about the new partnership. This is what she said:

Brandweek: Why partner with Powerade Zero?
Venus Williams: The fact that Powerade Zero targets an audience aligned with my lifestyle made the partnership interesting from the outset. As I began to learn more, I was intrigued that Powerade Zero is bringing a new dimension to the beverage world. There are a lot of people out there who have limited time to exercise and are trying to be calorie-conscious. This is the first brand to offer those people a chance to get the hydration and electrolytes of a sports drink without putting back the calories they’re working so hard to burn off. I thought this was innovative and recognized Powerade Zero as a product that people have been waiting for. This partnership is an exciting opportunity for me to support the launch and growth of a great concept that I believe in.

BW:What is it about that beverage in particular appealed to you?
VW:I thought it was appealing that the Powerade team figured out a way to make a sports drink that offers hydration and electrolytes with zero calories. I actually thought that was pretty amazing. Why would someone choose low calories when you can have similar benefits and zero calories? Most importantly, Powerade Zero is a product that I use in my training regimen when I don’t need as much energy from calories.

BW:What other brands have you partnered with? How do you select which are worthy partners?
VW:I prefer to partner with companies that reflect my interests and my lifestyle, while at the same time are innovative in their respective industries. I recently graduated from fashion design school and launched my clothing line, EleVen, with Steve and Barry’s, who are known as pioneers in offering affordable luxury. Powerade Zero fits my active lifestyle with a product that no other brand is offering.
The brands that I partner with in this phase of my career have been geared towards targeting active women and at the same time take advantage of my on-court popularity to build for my life after tennis. I am considering other partnerships along these lines to similarly capitalize on my fashion interests as well as the success of my interior design firm, V Starr Interiors.

Posted by Shelia

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