YouTube star, pro boxer, and now... founder?
Last week, Logan Paul and fellow YouTube star KSI formed an unlikely alliance when they announced their new beverage brand: Prime.
Today’s marketing case study breaks down everything you need to know about this business move, from a marketing and content perspective.
There’s a lot to learn...
(And no — you don’t need to be a generational superstar like Logan and KSI to apply the strategies we’ll be discussing today)
Let’s get into it
Today at a glance
- A tactical deep dive into the content and marketing that went into the Prime launch, with some key takeaways for your brand
- A missed opportunity that could have millions of additional impressions?
- 1 powerful marketing angle that newer brands can steal from Logan and KSI
- Bonus: A potential opportunity for ecom marketers and operators?
How Prime manufactured massive amounts of hype for their big launch
If there’s one thing YouTube stars like Logan and KSI are masters at, it’s storytelling.
Prior to this joint business venture, the two creators were fierce rivals — most recently in the boxing ring.
The hype they built up around their two prior boxing matches led to massive payouts for both of them.
According to Forbes, “KSI and Logan Paul each earned $900,000 for their part in the six-round cruiserweight bout that ended with a split-decision win for the former.”
They leaned into their previous fights as a way to create insane amounts of curiosity around the Prime announcement. The buildup started when KSI and Logan both tweeted this image on December 29th, announcing an upcoming Instagram live:
Logan captioned the tweet “this only ends one way,” hinting at a possible third fight between the two of them.
Still, the image left fans in the dark — and thus, created massive amounts of curiosity. Was there going to be a third fight? What could this post mean?
And with a fanbase as engaged as theirs, large amounts of people were now waiting for that IG live to close that curiosity gap. As of writing this, the initial post has 2.8K retweets, and 56.8K likes — crazy engagement.
As intended, the replies are also filled with people wondering wtf is going on. An open loop was created.
Days later, on January 2, Logan followed up with another tweet, sparking even more curiosity (and controversy):
Logan started it off with an attention grabber, calling Floyd Mayweather a “dirty little rat” and claiming that he still hasn’t been paid. In case you haven’t figured it out — Logan is great at leveraging controversy in content.
He then created even more curiosity around the January 4th IG Live, stating that he and KSI are “going to make back the money you stole from me.”
The talk of money introduced another possibility: an NFT drop. This led to even more discussion in the replies. How were they going to make this happen?
Building off of previous storylines that have proven success resulted in far more excitement around this livestream than if Logan were to just tweet out that he was making an announcement on January 4th without further context.
The hype was there... now let’s talk a look at the launch execution.
As promised, on January 4th at 1pm PST, KSI and Logan went live on Instagram.
The creative strategy in the video itself is was great. It started off with the two creators streaming separately, using the IG Live split screen feature. This made the audience believe Logan and KSI were in separate locations.
Logan starts off by talking about how nervous he is, building even more curiosity in the audience. Why was he so nervous?
(fun drinking game - take a shot every time I say “curiosity”)
A few minutes into the video, both Logan and KSI say they’ll “be right back,” getting up and leaving their phones.
About 20 seconds later, they both return, but in reversed spots on the livestream...
This reveals to the audience that they’re at the same location.
After a few, more seconds of playing it cool, they finally reveal that they’re together, and proceed to announce the new brand: PRIME.
Upon launch, PRIME is available at most major grocery stores: Walmart, Target, Kroger, CVS, Ralphs, GNC, Vitamin Shop.
According to some stats from Colin and Samir’s newsletter, The Publish Press, PRIME sold roughly 3 million units in retailers across the US.
At the time of the announcement, there was no option to order online. They did place a URL in the brand’s IG taking users to an email + SMS landing page.
The page itself was super simple. This makes sense since most of the traffic hitting the page is coming straight from the Instagram Live announcement with high buyer intent.
Now, what happens after you sign up for the waitlist? I signed up for the email and SMS notifications to see if they had any flows already in place...
And, they didn’t. There wasn’t a welcome email flow, and there wasn’t a text confirming that I had signed up for SMS marketing.
However, on Saturday PRIME sent out this SMS marketing campaign:
Simple, displays the benefits of the product, and gives a link to purchase. With all of the hype around the drink already, it makes sense to avoid overcomplicating it.
Now, let’s talk content.
On the social media side, the creators sent livestream viewers over to the @drinkprime profile on Instagram. In just just 24 hours, the page hit 450K followers.
Upon hitting 450K, PRIME published another post announcing a giveaway as a ‘thank you’ for the initial support — this further carried the momentum created by the initial launch.
Each entry required the user to follow the account and tag 2 friends in the comments. These are two low friction actions that allow the account to grow quickly. As of writing this, that single post has 60,779 comments.
Not bad for a brand who’s been in existence for just under a week.
As of the final edit of this piece, here are the PRIME social accounts, by the numbers:
- Instagram ⇒ 584,000
- Twitter ⇒ 60,500
- TikTok ⇒ N/A (more on this later)
Engagement across Instagram and Twitter has also been high, as you’d expect from creators with this type of audience.
One benefit of having such an engaged audience is all of the UGC (user-generated content) that’s been created over the past several days, like:
Fans sharing pictures of themselves with the drink to their IG stories...
Fans posting screenshots of their orders to Twitter after buying online...
Fans creating fake TikTok accounts and pretty much marketing the brand for free across the platform...
My favorite piece of UGC came from this fan who ran into Logan and KSI outside of a Target on launch day. This situation showed just how savvy Logan is as a marketer.
He made sure to be friendly with the fan, and walked over to the car to hand the fan a bottle of the Prime drink. He knew that was going on TikTok.
And guess what? The comments of the fans’ video were full of support.
The retail launch was just the beginning, though...
On January 8th at 11am PST, PRIME launched online in the US.
And to no surprise…
It sold out 2 hours after launch.
The content wasn’t done after launch though.
On Sunday, Logan published a YouTube video titled “I started a drink company with KSI.”
In 21 hours, the video pulled 2.3M videos and hit #1 on YouTube Trending.
Looking at the tactical side of the video:
- The title and thumbnail spike curiosity in anyone who hasn’t seen the announcement. Why is Logan working with KSI? Aren’t they enemies?
- The behind the scenes look at the launch further develops the brand story, and packages it in a way that’s easy to consume.
- The video is short and sweet. 4 minutes long, not a drawn out documentary. This likely helped with retention.
After seeing the combined retail and DTC success of the product, it’s hard to argue against this launch being a success. The numbers don’t lie.
The true test of the brand will come in the following months. Will Prime become a staple drink for teens and young adults around the world? Or will it be another influencer product with fleeting hype?
That will depend on the brand’s commitment to content creation, as well as implementing ecommerce fundamentals.
An advantage for a brand founded by such well-known creators is that paid media costs will be significantly lower (most likely). They already have massive built-in reach.
I’ll be interested to see if PRIME even bothers to run paid media right away.
With that said, let’s get into PRIME’s true super power 👇
What makes PRIME different? 1 powerful marketing angle that newer brands can steal from Logan and KSI
“We’re against literally all the big companies.”
That’s what KSI said during the livestream, verbatim.
And Logan followed that up with “Why the f*** would we not overtake Gatorade?” in his most recent YouTube video.
Why should you care?
Great marketing tells a story, and every story needs a villain.
PRIME has positioned “big companies” like Gatorade, Coca Cola, Pepsi, etc as the bad guy in this narrative, putting themselves in the underdog role.
Again, not just speculating here. In Logan’s announcement post, he wrote:
“As underdogs, we always cherish the opportunity to show the world what’s possible.”
Why does this matter?
Well, humans love to root for the underdog. They want a feel good story where the the little guy wins. Just look at sports.
It’s absurd to think of Logan Paul and KSI as “little guys,” but they’ve managed to construct a narrative where that’s true.
Because of that, fans want to support them in the crusade against big business. Not only that, they want to be a part of that journey.
So how can fans join the fight?
Well... they can buy the PRIME drink (that’s the power of good marketing).
What’s interesting about PRIME is that it’s literally just another “better for you” drink that supposedly tastes better.
Logan said so in the YouTube video.
The storytelling is the differentiator. The story gives PRIME the potential to have longevity as a brand.
Consider how you can apply storytelling in your own brand.
And no, you don’t need to be a YouTuber with 23.2 million subscribers to use this.
If you’re a founder, start with your own story. There was to be a reason why you started your brand.
What problem were you frustrated by that you wanted to solve?
How did your product or service transform your life?
Odds are, you can relate to your potential customer.
Give it a try, and let me know how it goes.
Another note on the PRIME brand positioning
Along with the underdog angle, PRIME positioned the product in a way that expands across multiple niches — just like the founders’ audiences expand across multiple niches.
The product had its roots in Logan’s fight camp leading up the the Mayweather bout, but the copy in the announcement post emphasizes that its a “hydration drink that can fuel any lifestyle.”
Creators like Logan Paul and KSI have the luxury of targeting a broad audience, because of the sheer size of their audience.
However if you’re a smaller brand in a specific niche, be mindful that you need to be more specific about who you’re reaching.
In most cases, when you try to reach everyone, you reach no-one.
Source : tclarkmedia.substack.com