CNBC’s Darren Rovell informs us today that Alex Rodriguez signed an endorsement deal with coconut water maker Vita Coco (and I thought Gatorade was a useless product). At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be anything out of the ordinary in the arrangement. Successful athletes make these types of deals all of the time.
What’s different about this endorsement is that Rodriguez is an investor in Vita Coco’s main competitor. Rovell explains:
The folks at Zico, Vita Coco’s biggest competitor, which is going head-to-head in a battle to become the leader in the growing $200 million space, say A-Rod is an investor in their company.
According to Mark Rampolla, Zico’s CEO:
Alex has been an investor for a couple years. And it’s not chump change either. It’s a hell of a lot more money than I ever invested in the company.
We’ve been sending Alex our product for months. We’ve sent product to his house, locker room, spring training and he has requested it when he’s traveling. Not only do we have video of Alex drinking our product from concentrate, but we have him recommending it. Our product from concentrate has the same nutritional value and has the same profile and, according to Nielsen, it is the number one coconut water SKU in New York.
Rampolla is even offering Rodriguez his capital back if he’s not happy with his brand’s coconut water.
Of course, I think the CEO is completely underestimating the Yankees third baseman. If Rodriguez is aware of anything it’s himself and the power of his own endorsement. For everyone who is now inspired to drink Vito Coco coconut water based on A-Rod’s support, there will be three people who will purposely never touch it.
So, as he enjoys all that his endorsement brings in money and free coconut water, Rodriguez can also watch the downfall of his investment’s competitor, all at his doing. Clearly, the man’s business sense is without equal.
Baltimore Orioles GM Andy MacPhail could explain the whole thing to you.
And coconut water? Really? This is actually a thing?