Joyburst wants to add colour to caffeinated drinks

From Shopper Marketing Report: The new beverage from No Sugar Company brings fun to its free-from bona fides.


Joyburst wants to tap a wholly different target audience in the ever-crowded energy drink category.

It is also the first foray into the beverage space for No Sugar Company, a company founded in 2018 with a preexisting lineup of sugar-free, keto-friendly bars and ice cream products.

Five SKUs of the keto-verified sparkling drink are coming to Walmart Canada, Calgary Co-op, Natura Market, Supermarché PA, Goodness Me, Nature’s Source and other independent retailers across the country, as well as select Costco regional stores. It is also available online through Amazon and Joyburst’s own website.

Shopper marketing elements will include shelf talkers and prominent middle-aisle PDQ positioning in Walmart, and end caps in Costco, as well as floor stands, says No Sugar Company’s CEO Brad Woodgate, assets which highlight the drink’s “no sugar” positioning.

Woodgate starred in the brand’s weird, cheesy and self-referential Super Bowl commercial, leading an overly enthused pastel-coloured choreographed dance troupe. And he tells strategy that like the spot, Joyburst definitely uses bright colours to stand out in what he calls a “sea of dark” in the energy drink category.


“People eat with their eyes, and the product has to be hero on the packaging,” he says, adding that its fruity appeal is unisex, but skews slightly to a female consumer in an arena in which brands like Monster tend to push to a more male audience.

As such, for Joyburst, it’s not just appetite appeal but caffeine content that’s an important important callout on-pack.

Dismissing what he calls “marketing pixie dust” of some health claims, Woodgate says its aim is to show a clean label of ingredients, but to really focus on the things people care about: calories, sugar and caffeine.

Seven years in the making, the energy drink, which launched in the U.S. in June, was long to develop until Woodgate finally settled on the low calorie sweetener erythritol, a sugar substitute derived from fruit, to get the desired taste profile. 

Competitor Guru is an energy drink that has been looking to build an audience in Canada, and is another brand with better for you positioning.

While conceding Guru is on the right track and is doing things well, Woodgate maintains his goal with Joyburst is to make a big imprint abroad, especially given the majority of its sales are in the U.S. and the U.K.

And for Canada, he says with the continued mainstreaming of these drinks, he wants to get into more major grocery banners, and has found success with a rigorous sampling program, which included handing out 100,000 cans as part of a largescale program two weeks ago (see, right).

“We’re firing on all cylinders to be a mass market brand,” he says. Joyburst also has eight more flavours in development to “take care of the rainbow.”

The line will debut in 355ml can format with five SKUs: Elderberry, Frosé Rose and Peach-Mango, but also more mainstream flavours such as Lime and Grape.

Joyburst uses a dedicated team in-house to handle creative and shopper elements. New York’s Consolidated Group did the Super Bowl ad.