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YouTubers’ Prime Energy Drink Craze Holds Marketing Lessons

A UK frenzy over the rollout of Prime, an energy drink from YouTubers and boxers Logan Paul and KSI, offers marketers a curious case study in the powers of scarcity and social media.

PrimeAs The Times of London reports (via The Week), the brand’s success among “hormonal boys” is “a triumph of marketing.” The UK website lists the drinks all as “sold out,” and supermarkets have had to limit how many bottles each customer can purchase in the face of demand that far outstrips supply.

The Washington Post calls Prime drinks a youth “status symbol” akin to Tickle Me Elmo, Beanie Babies, and other playground crazes in years past. The tens of millions of people who follow Paul and KSI reportedly view buying Prime as a way of showing their loyalty to the YouTubers.

Mae Karwowski, CEO and founder of influencer marketing firm Obviously, told the Post that “in the next 10 years, all the biggest brands will be made by” online personalities: “They understand what their customers want.” The product is beside the point, added Amanda Russell, a professor and director of the Global Center for Influence at University of Texas: “It’s about the community and the cult that they’ve built.”

TikTok has altered the equation for playground buzz, The Financial Times notes. Amelia Torode, founder of brand strategy consultancy Fawnbrake, told the newspaper, “All the playgrounds are connected now.” PR executive Mark Borkowski observed that today’s kids are sophisticated social media users, complicit in the hype. They “understand the algorithms … they think that they can do it. Younger kids are smarter than a marketing executive.”

As Insider reports, Prime was introduced in the United States in January 2022 and landed across the pond a few months later. It boasted $250 million in revenues last year. Of the lines to buy the product and the booming resale market, one UK parent said, “My immediate reaction was like, is there cocaine in it?”

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