Special to NYSportsJournalism.com
February 11, 2015: Mountain Dew's Kickstart high-energy caffeine drink marketing timeline has gone from the Super Bowl to the NBA All-Star Game, airing a spot on NBC during the Big Game and now launching a deal with Russell Westbrook All-Star point guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The multi-year alliance was unveiled during All-Star Week in New York, where All-Star Saturday Night events will take place in Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the game itself in Madison Square Garden on Sunday (Feb. 15).
A launch TV spot is scheduled to break on TNT on Feb. 14 "starring Westbrook and his buddies" during coverage of NBA All-Star State Farm Saturday Night competition.
Financial terms of the pact were not shared.
Mountain Dew said that Westbrook is the brand's first national spokesman from the NBA and will be featured in a new multi-platform extension of the Mountain Dew Kickstart "It All Starts with a Kick" campaign.
Nascar driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. currently stars in a campaign for Diet Mountain Dew. Mountain Dew Kickstart's "Come Alive" ad (pictured below)ran on Super Bowl Sunday and has since gone into regular rotation.
"Partnering with an athlete is so much more than just finding an MVP — it's about identifying someone that truly lives the brand ethos every day," Greg Lyons, vp-marketing for Mountain Dew, said in a statement. "Russell is charged with personality and style, and isn't afraid to push boundaries – making him the ideal partner for Mountain Dew Kickstart and a great addition to Dew's team of all-star athletes."
According to parent company PepsiCo, Mountain Dew Kickstart launched two years ago and has been one of its "most successful beverage product launches in the past ten years," growing more than 50% in its second year on the market with annual retail sales of nearly $300 million.
The campaign with Westbrook, which includes TV, print, Internet, social media and POP, supports two new flavors, Orange Citrus and Fruit Punch, which join Kickstart Black Cherry and Kickstart Limeade.
Westbrook's deals also include Subway, Six Star nutrients, his own Westbrook (eye frames), Nike and Foot Locker.
According to Westbrook, "Becoming part of Dew Nation just felt really organic and authentic for me. The brand is an instigator — it's about creativity and looking at life through your own lens and living it the way you want to live it. Those are all attributes that are core to who I am."