Lonzo Ball (L) and Justin Fields are two of the athletes partnering with C4 Energy.

The last few years have seen athletes’ social media platforms become more and more important, whether as a place to break news about themselves, react to stories, takes, or even leagues and governing bodies, or just share their personality and their interests. And those social media platforms are becoming a more and more important part of endorsement deals. One brand that’s heavily focused on social media with its endorsement deals is C4 Energy, which has deals with NFL players Justin Fields (seen at right above) and Kyle Pitts, NBA player Lonzo Ball (seen at left above), WNBA player Te’a Cooper and more. Rajaa Grar, the chief marketing officer and chief digital officer of C4 parent company Nutrabolt, spoke to AA recently by e-mail about why they’re so focused on that aspect with the players they sign.

“Social media is a cornerstone for C4, much like it is for so many of our fans,” Grar said. “Social media has woven itself into our daily lives, and is truly a powerful tool of self-expression for our athletes as well as for our fans. It is a platform where our audience can connect on a deeper and more authentic level with our athletes and company.”

“We pride ourselves in working with athletes who already know and love the C4 brand and use it to power performance in all aspects of their lives. My team and I work closely with each athlete to co-create content that they are excited about and that will resonate with their fans across social channels. It is very much a collaboration with each individual to ensure it is a win for everyone.”

As for those specific athletes, Grar said their stories are a good fit for C4, and they’ll be explored further in upcoming brand campaigns.

“C4 Energy’s mission has always been to inspire and maximize human performance for all. When forming our C4 Energy roster, we knew we had to have Kyle Pitts, Lonzo Ball, Te’a Cooper and Justin Fields because they all have a unique story of hard work & determination. Each one of them represents perseverance & grit. They have overcome their own set of challenges to be where they are today. We are proud to bring them together as part of our C4 team. The C4 brand, dating from our pre-workout beginnings, has been an authentic part of some of these athletes’ journeys and we’re honored to continue to be part of their journey.”

“We have carefully curated talent representing multiple sports, lifestyles, and passions. We are excited to have Te’a Cooper, Kyle Pitts, Lonzo Ball and Justin Fields on our team. Each athlete brings such a unique story of personal triumph and has overcome personal challenges. Their strong commitment to facing head-on the toughest challenges while staying resilient and driven resonates with C4 brand values.”

“We believe it’s important to tell our athletes’ stories on a deeper level. These stories will unfold in a new upcoming C4 Energy brand campaign that will celebrate how each athlete is able to harness the fire within to push through their own struggles, striving for greatness.”

Beyond partnerships with athletes, Austin-based C4 has also signed a multi-year partnership with MLS’ Austin FC, which includes a limited-edition mango lime flavor available both at the stadium and at H-E-B locations around Austin. Grar said that flavor and can design is a further illustration of their focus on doing more than just a basic sponsorship; it was developed alongside the team, with an eye on embracing their Latino fanbase.

“C4 Energy is Austin-based, and it felt like a natural fit to ink our first Major League Sports partnership deal with Austin’s first pro team ever. It is hometown pride, and we feel very honored to be the “Official Energy Drink”. We went through a collaborative research and development process with Austin FC to create a limited-edition flavor, C4 Energy Mango Lime, with a custom can design that features the team’s signature verde and black colors & the rallying cry “Estamos Listos.” This is an important differentiator for both Austin FC and for C4 Energy since it provides us with a unique opportunity to embrace and resonate in a culturally relevant way with our Latino fanbase. The new flavor will be available for sale at Austin FC’s new Q2 stadium, alongside other C4 favorites from the lineup, and H-E-Bs around the Austin area.”

They’re also going beyond a standard sponsorship by offering a free workout series led by C4 Energy athletes and trainers. Grar said that matters as a way to make a bigger contribution to the community.

“The Austin community is extremely important to us, and this was a great opportunity to engage with our fans, promote wellness & spread the C4 love with our neighbors, especially in this post-pandemic environment. We will be offering complimentary fitness classes in Austin throughout the summer, and fans can participate for a chance to win Austin FC tickets, C4 Energy product, and additional exciting prizes.”

C4’s focus on emphasizing connections with athletes, teams and fans is something we’re seeing a lot of from many brands lately, and it’s a big change from how some of these sponsorships have been done in the past. Grar said it’s a vital change for the current climate, though; it’s more important to connect with athletes who are genuine with their endorsements than it is just to get logos out there.

“As a lifestyle brand, it is very important for C4 Energy to connect with our fans through their passion points such as sports. Fans are extremely loyal to their teams and favorite players, making sports marketing an effective tool for brands. The space is quite competitive, which is why it’s so important to partner with athletes who are genuine fans of the brand and our products. Anything less will not resonate with the consumer.”

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.