Digital Marketing Redux   //   July 11, 2024

Lucky Energy’s growth strategy focuses on virality & convenience stores

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Lucky Energy wants to take on the Red Bulls and C4s of the world.

The company’s drink line, Lucky F*ck, launched last year and has been slowly building out its distribution. It’s now available in around 2,000 store doors in Texas and California and is also sold on Amazon.

According to CMO Hamid Saify, the strategy of growing Lucky Energy has been to get people’s attention. Thus, the name of its product. The company has also launched some splashy guerrilla campaigns — including a Coachella activation that involved a billboard asking people to call a phone number if they’re looking for a “quick f*ck.”

Saify joined this week’s Modern Retail Podcast and spoke about Lucky’s growth so far and its future plans.

In the early days, when Lucky’s founder was distributing the beverages himself, “we just started seeing really crazy velocity because people were just leaning in and [were] like, ‘What is this thing?’ Saify said.

Now, the focus is to continue that momentum. This includes launching in more convenience stores over the next year, as well as expanding to new regions like Florida.

For a beverage brand, the best early-stage growth strategy is focused on getting people to try the beverage. That’s why Saify is so bullish on convenience stores.

“I would say our first-year approach is: we really want to start making a ton of inroads into C-stores,” he said.

Here are a few highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited for clarity.

Focusing on the product first
“[In] the early days, we really did start off with product first — branding, packaging, product all kind of came together at the same time. But really it’s like we wanted a product that differentiated and kind of stood out in a very competitive energy category. So, we position on things like [the fact that] we have five super ingredients inside of the drinkā€¦ Richard, who’s our founder, before we even raised any money, he just used his own money to just do production runs. And we took those runs and we just started selling it ourselves in independent grocery and gyms around Palm Springs and in Austin, where the brand is headquartered. And we just started seeing really crazy velocity because people were just leaning in and [were] like, ‘What is this thing?'”

Lucky Energy’s growth strategy
“Big C-store chains are going to be where I think this brand wins. And that’s where we’ve seen really insane velocities to date so far. [It’s been] been pretty mind-boggling to see. So I think C-store starts it, and then we start thinking about what does that mean [for] bigger-box retail for multi-pack. C-store will be a single-can play, right? And then multi-pack as we get into big-box next year, and there’s more momentum and more push behind the brand. For us, it’s like we have to really own and figure out Texas, because that’s where we’re rooted in. And California is a huge priority space. And then the southeast is another one — getting into the Florida market. But I would say our first-year approach is: we really want to start making a ton of inroads into C-stores. We have some good news and some good wins that are going to be pretty amazing that will happen over the next couple of months or so.”

The story behind the Coachella activation
“The Coachella idea came together like in two days. We had sales team that would be out in Coachella, just sampling [and] giving out product. We knew that was going to happen. And we were able to link up with a creator house [that had] NFL talent, digital creators, OnlyFans talent, music people. It was about 18 or 20 creators in a house around Coachella, and we seeded them product for the full first weekend activities. And they pushed a lot of content out. We saw them wearing Lucky F*ck merch, actually, as they went out to parties, which is insane, because festival gear is a big deal — like, what you put on your body. And we saw people wearing merchandise, which was fantastic. So that was one part of it that came together super quick. And then on the out-of-home idea, we were like, ‘Hey, let’s just do something provocative and have people call this number.’ And we had about 200 people that called that phone number, which is one measure and one KPI. But the key thing was: during those days when we activated all these things together, we saw about a 57% increase in our daily Amazon average sales. So we saw a lift correspond there.”