What's the deal with PRIME?
How did a 'side hustle' generate over $250mn in its first year?
What is PRIME?
It's a strong, brightly-packaged energy drink created by mega-influencers Logan Paul (American) and KSI (British) that just about every teenager on Earth is falling over themselves to get their hands on.
What it also is, is an interesting case study in modern marketing strategy.
So on that point - how is it that a brand new energy drink went from $0 just two years ago, to now having $250mn in revenues in 2022 and $40mn in just January this year?
Logan Paul and KSI
Paul has over 23 million subscribers to his YouTube channel and KSI has more than 16 million. These are not ordinary individuals who started a little side hustle, these are celebrities with significant cultural influence. Whatever product or brand they choose to promote is guaranteed to get out of the gates with a strong tailwind.
This is not brand created by some faceless multinational 'addressing an identified consumer need' - these are notorious personalities offering their fans the chance to own a little piece of their idols.
Some are wanting to ban it
If you want teenagers to desire something, make sure that it gets banned and parents hate it. Teachers must be warning against it and government health departments must have 'grave concerns' about its existence. Tick, tick, tick and tick.
The stuff apparently contains more caffeine and other bad stuff than is seriously necessary - so you'll know that it was made to cause a stir. Hey, we used to want to listen to Marilyn Manson because Barney Simon said it was cool; the kids of today want a bottle of strong coffee that may or may not disallow sleep for a month. What's more dangerous?
As soon as stores get their small, purposefully-sparse quota of PRIME stock, it sells out very quickly. This kind of false scarcity is classic ECON101 market manipulation encouraging black market trading and a healthy dose of network buzz.
Most marketers would never dream of throttling back supply in an effort to boost demand, but in the case of PRIME it's a tactic that works really well.
Fans of Paul and KSI are micro-influencers themselves - re-promoting their own PRIME-drinking coolness on TikTok. This kind of hype is priceless while it's hot. PRIME is not so much a product as it is a culture. The culture carries the narrative on, the trick is to not stand in the freight train's way.
What's the take out?
Some call them celebrities others call them influencers, but people who carry social clout have the power to successfully sell at scale. Whether it's Rihanna, Emma Chamberlain, Jamie Oliver or Logan Paul and KSI - the people behind brands sell brands very effectively.
The story here is one of personal branding. It has always been powerful and still is. Throw in social media and you've got a global marketing machine that only the likes of Coca Cola would have been able to get right 10 years ago.