By Andrew Wroblewski
A Huntington-based sports drink company announced a giant partnership last week.
Odell Beckham Jr., the star wide receiver for the New York Giants, has joined Roar Beverages as its national spokesperson and is working with the company to develop lines of its coconut water-based sports drinks, the first of which is slated for release later this month.
“I am blessed to play an important role in a sports drink company whose mission is to provide healthier options for the next generation,” Beckham Jr., 22, born in New Orleans, said in a press release.
That “mission” is exactly why Roar CEO Roly Nesi said in an interview Tuesday he started the company in 2012. He wants to provide a healthier sports drink to the 8- to 18-year-old demographic.
To accomplish that, Roar’s drinks are made with coconut water, B vitamins and electrolytes, 25 percent less sugar than traditional sports drinks, and contain no artificial flavors, caffeine, preservatives, gluten or brominated vegetable oil. Roar also produces a U.S. Department of Agriculture Smart Snack-approved flavor, which is available in high schools throughout the country.
The company is set to introduce its eighth flavor on Sept. 14, four days after the 2015-16 NFL season kicks off. Dubbed with working-title “The Odell Project” by Nesi, the flavor was crafted side by side with Beckham Jr., from the taste of the beverage to the design of its label. The new flavor will launch alongside Roar’s first-ever national advertising campaign, led by Beckham Jr.
For Nesi, a lifelong Giants fan, it’s a dream come true.
“It’s kind of one of those dream scenarios where your favorite team and your favorite player are now working with your product,” the 31-year-old from Cold Spring Harbor said. “If you gave me the choice of any athlete in the world… I don’t think I would have picked anybody over Odell Beckham Jr.”
Nesi said Roar targeted Beckham Jr. after the wide receiver’s breakout rookie campaign a year ago when he became, statistically, one of the most-successful rookie wide receivers the NFL has ever seen and generated an incredible social-media presence, including more than 2 million followers on his Instagram account.
This made Beckham Jr. the perfect fit for Roar, Nesi said: “We look at him the way Nike looked at Michael Jordan. We didn’t sign him with the anticipation of just doing one drink together. We’re looking long-term at building an entire performance line around him,” he added.
Beckham Jr. is now also a Roar partner, Nesi said, and will contribute to marketing efforts, product development and both social and digital programming while working with the company on new flavors.
Roar, manufactured in Pennsauken, New Jersey, is currently available in more than 2,000 retail locations across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Vermont. The company’s retail partners include 7-Eleven, Fairway and King Kullen. Roar is working with partners to distribute nationwide.
In 2015, Nesi said, the company is expected to ship more than 1 million units. “But we’re hoping to exceed that number.”