by Matt Weik
Two of the biggest players in their respective markets have clashed and decided to join together in a step that can only be imagined by taking a direct shot at Coca-Cola. In late April, it was announced that energy drink giant Bang Energy has partnered with PepsiCo to distribute its beverages in North America.
For those who are not in the industry or were not careful, PepsiCo acquired Cytosport, the manufacturer of muscle milk, in early 2019 for $ 465 million. I can only guess, but my theory is that PepsiCo had wanted to buy Muscle Milk for some time, which led them to work with the (then) owner of Cytosport, Hormel Foods, as a distributor. Do you see some similarities? Yes, PepsiCo signed on the dotted line to record Bang Energy and distribute their energy drinks. Coincidence? I do not believe that.
If I were a betting man, the man at the top of Bang Energy, Jack Owoc, could prepare for a big exit. If the story repeats itself, Bang Energy could be sold to PepsiCo in the next few years, allowing Jack to potentially sell his energy drink company for hundreds of millions of dollars (maybe even more?).
Jack does things personally with this Bang Energy Distribution deal
It's no secret that Jack and Coca-Cola have had feuds for years – years to be exact. The two went to court over the use of the name "Reign". Why should it be important? It's simple, Reign is a direct competitor to Bang Energy. How does that correspond to a lawsuit? Well, Jack Owoc has a brand for the term "Reign", but when you look at the fine print, it seems that it has nothing to do with drinks and only with pills and powders (a matter of different classifications and uses for the term).
Jack went off the rail a few times on social media when he blew up Reign and said they were kidding him and he had the rights, etc. Unfortunately, he tossed a lot of money for Jack for what appeared to be nothing. Now it just seems like a power game in which Jack isn't afraid to blow a few piles at the feel of a lawyer, to pull straws, hoping to beat Coca-Cola in at least one lawsuit.
In essence, the move Jack took to authorize PepsiCo as the exclusive distributor of Bang Energy drinks in North America is a direct middle finger to Coca-Cola (a direct competitor to PepsiCo).
PepsiCo is not a problem when it comes to selling and owning different brands. Under their name, they also have brands such as Gatorade, Tropicana, Naked, Aquafina, Pure Leaf, LIFEWTR, Bubly, O.N.E., Lipton, SOBE, Starbucks Frappuccino, KeVita, IZZE and of course all lemonades and soft drinks under the PepsiCo brand. Essentially some key players in the beverage sector. Add the Bang Energy distribution and this powerhouse is much stronger now.
Will PepsiCo really help power Bang Energy?
I think so. In fact, this could be a piece by Jack to get Bang Energy on the shelves alongside Reign in C stores and gas stations in the U.S. (maybe even grocery stores?). Personally, I would like to see it in all of these and allow more choices for solid energy drinks at these locations. Reign was the first of the two to accomplish this and is currently sitting in the fridges of these retail locations as I type this.
Bang Energy is the third largest brand in the energy category and continues to grow rapidly. PepsiCo North America CEO Kirk Tanner was quoted as saying, “Bang Energy has performed well in the highly competitive energy category, pioneered the Performance Energy segment and attracted the next generation of energy consumers. This alliance plays a pivotal role in PepsiCo's overall energy beverage strategy and enables us to significantly accelerate the distribution of Bang Energy to meet increasing consumer demand. "
Jack Owoc, the owner of VPX and Bang Energy, also interfered and said: “The combined strength of our two organizations will be a meteoric partnership – one for the beverage history books. Bang strives to offer calorie-free, highly effective innovations and exceed the expectations of our consumers. When it comes to category, we invented the future by reinventing the game. "
I'll give it to Jack, he was absolutely a game changer in this area and his growth and earnings would confirm such a comment. Is Jack a little bit crazy? Sure, but he knows exactly what he's doing with the brand. He also kneels deep in the influencer game, where he apparently pays almost every big name on YouTube to promote Bang Energy and include advertising or product placement anywhere in the content. Frankly, it's a smart move – there's the name and brand out there. And his saying "If you're not Bangin, you're not Hangin" is a bit counterintuitive.
I can't wait to see what PepsiCo does with Bang Energy and where they can place the energy drinks in different retailers and distribution channels. I'm also excited to see what the price will be. Many retailers in my area who sell Bang Energy have a slightly higher price than Reign. Is Jack Ready to Play the Prize Game? If so, I fear that it could be a race to the bottom, and that's not helpful for any of the brands involved. But overall I finished my popcorn and peeled my eyes to see what (if anything) happened next between Jack and Coca-Cola.