Rockstar Energy showcased their Rockstar Energy Water over 18 months ago at the 2012 NACS Show, but never divulged the launch date. The energy drink manufacturer’s enhanced water offerings were quietly introduced in September 2013, and has recently launched into Canada. Via Rockstar Energy Canada’s Facebook page – the three flavors of Citrus, Orange Tangerine, and Blueberry Pomegranate Acai – launched February 24.
Beyond their energy drink’s portfolio breadth, Rockstar has been traditionally known for their innovative and attention-grabbing packaging. Their energy drinks come in aluminum cans that have matte finishes (Rockstar Recovery series) and slim cans with straws (Rockstar Pink). However, their foray into enhanced waters have stayed with safer packaging resembling other products that define the segment landscape. Even as packaging can help demonstrate a product’s unique features, Rockstar has chosen to play it safe since they do not have a strong brand name. Their packaging resembles that the glaceau’s vitaminwater packaging, the clear market leader. Perhaps Rockstar is looking to enter this segment as a follower and build up credibility as a key competitor in this segment before experimenting with its packaging.
The launch of Rockstar Energy Water is also an indication of the energy drink manufacturer’s goals to diversify beyond energy drinks. Similar to Starbucks’ aim to expand outside coffee and Monster Energy’s expansion into teas, Rockstar is leveraging their expertise in energy drinks to introduce other caffeinated beverage products. These new products are targeted toward a different consumer, and will be placed in other beverage sections within convenience and grocery stores. With more touch points in the grocery aisles, Rockstar now has more opportunities to connect with the shopper: both the energy drink shopper and the enhanced water shopper.
As Rockstar targets a new consumer demographic, their marketing message and vehicles should also change. Energy drink companies have forged strong ties with extreme sports athletes since their products fit that particular demographic and lifestyle. Their new beverages may need to start communicating on other media channels (ie TV, print, digital) and communicating differently to identify more closely with this demographic’s behaviors and needs. While some analysts expect Rockstar Energy Waters to go after the same “energy” consumer, there are bound to be new interest. At the same time, communicating similar messages within identical media platforms dilutes the overall product awareness.
Even as Rockstar Energy Drink continues to increase its availability, two key challenges they must address are awareness and consideration. Their February launch showed that they have only communicated to the public through sporting events and social media. How will they improve their awareness? And with their competition firmly entrenched in shopper’s minds when they are looking to buy enhanced waters, what will Rockstar Energy Water do to have the shopper consider trying Rockstar Energy Water?
Seeing that expansion is a key growth opportunity, Rockstar’s broader portfolio is a good first start. If they continue supporting these new drinks and work to build both awareness and consideration, Rockstar can become a strong player across both the energy drink and enhanced waters segments.