BioSteel looks to ball with Circle K

The official sports drink of the Raptors is tapping a popular convenience chain with its new shopper program.

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Call it a marriage of convenience.

Sports nutrition brand BioSteel is doing a shopper link-up with Couche-Tard to highlight its clean label ingredients, while also leveraging its latest sports sponsorship.

The company’s Circle K and Couche-Tard banners are two of the first retail partners to feature Biosteel’s new RTDs, and now the sports nutrition company is looking to use that to further builds its profile after it announced a multi-year deal with the Toronto Raptors.

At Circle K stores in Ontario in January and February, the brand will have POS materials including in-store cooler clings (above), full wall displays, window posters and other eye-catching pieces, says John Peirano, SVP of marketing at BioSteel, all of which utilize the Raptors brand. 

While some brands have leaned more into digital since last year, Peirano insists people are still going into stores to purchase, and changes in consumer behaviour at the retail level have not changed its importance within BioSteel’s marketing mix.

“It is important for us to continue to use in-store programs to drive purchase and to support our retail partners, despite lower foot traffic,” he says.

In addition to calling out a 2-for-$5 promotion that runs until Feb. 1, similar to its 3-SKU “Occupation Double” campaign (bottom) it ran in December in Couche-Tard,  Peirano tells strategy that BioSteel’s creative approach is all about utilizing the Raptor look and feel, as well as its longstanding partnership with NHLer Connor McDavid (below) to help tell its story and from a functional benefits standpoint.

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This means telling the consumer exactly what they are getting in the product: a clean label, no sugar, no preservatives, no artificial colors or flavors and the electrolytes consumers need, he says.

“Consumers can now feel good about the sports drink they are putting in their bodies,” Peirano adds, something important to the high-performance athlete the brand typically targets.

In addition to its no-sugar value proposition, another category differentiator is that it’s also in an eco-friendly recyclable Tetra pak format with a plant-based cap.

“As Tetra becomes more appreciated for its eco-friendly qualities, we feel this packaging will help our sports drink pop on the shelf,” he says. The Raptor partnership will also make BioSteel’s Tetra pak sugar-free sports drinks available to players on the sidelines.

More broadly, when it comes to distribution, Peirano says it’s also leaning on the brand’s connection to Constellation Brands. The beverage giant has a sizeable stake in cannabis producer Canopy Growth, which itself first acquired a majority stake in BioSteel in 2019 as part of effort to push into new categories where CBD-infused products may be relevant and gain a foothold in beverage distribution as those products became legalized.

Through that, BioSteel has access to Constellation’s beer distribution networks and other key distributors to bring the product to retail, and Peirano says Canopy is also helping BioSteel’s growth in the U.S., where it has additional partnerships with the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers.

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