When Mark Wahlberg was training for the 2010 film “The Fighter,” he discovered AquaHydrate, a water supplemented with minerals and electrolytes. He apparently liked the stuff so much that he wanted in on the company.
Wahlberg now owns about 20 percent of the company, according to the Wall Street Journal, and his involvement no doubt helped rope in P. Diddy as an investor as well. The man sometimes known as Sean Combs also has a stake worth about 20 percent.
Now, after selling the product in Walgreens and other such US outlets, Wahlberg, Diddy, and their fellow investors are taking the beverage abroad. AquaHydrate may make its Australian debut in the next few weeks and “is advancing talks to expand into Asian markets through a joint venture covering Hong Kong, mainland China and Taiwan, as well as distribution in Japan,” the Journal notes.
And why not? Consumers are drinking less soda than they used to and are more and more interested in purchasing items that have a healthy bent to their marketing. Research firm Innova Market Insights recently reported that fruit-based drinks have “dominated launch activity, accounting for over 43% of total” beverage launches in the last two years. Water isn’t growing as quickly, but the concept of AquaHydrate is to provide an alternative to the sugared sodas that ruled the beverage world’s recent past history.
"I see more vitamin-enriched beverages and more nutraceutical drinks in general,” said Kenneth Manning, chairman, president and CEO of Sensient Technologies Corporation earlier this year, according to FoodBev.com. “In particular I see growth in those targeting older consumers, plus beauty and health drinks targeting all ages. I believe we will see an increase in the range of still drinks more than carbonated soft drinks.”
As for AquaHydrate, it is being careful about how it uses its celebs to market its product, the Journal reports. “It’s not really about doing outdoor, say, in Los Angeles with Mark holding a bottle or Sean holding a bottle,” said AquaHydrate chief exec John Cochran. “This is about them lending credibility to the product and there are certainly consumers that view them as aspirational. In certain venues we’re going to put them a little more front and center, but in other venues it just doesn’t make sense.”
The bottom line, of course, is that having a bold-face name or two involved isn’t hurting the brand one bit. And when you’re in an already oversaturated market, no pun intended, every little bit helps.