ZOA unleashes Big Dwayne Energy with new marketing campaign, ad

ZOA Energy is turning to its biggest asset to disrupt the $20 billion energy-drink market.

Get ready for BDE – aka Big Dwayne Energy.

The energy drink is set to kick off a new marketing campaign that’s all about confidence, positivity and giving people the energy they need to take on any task.

“When someone with a great, radiating energy enters the room, people feel it,” says ZOA co-founder Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. “ZOA Energy helps you be that best version of yourself and positively influence those around you – confidently owning your authentic self and doing your best to live life to the fullest.”

BDE, in other words.

The campaign centers on Johnson showing how ZOA Energy can help everyone get their own BDE, allowing them to tackle their everyday tasks with ease.

“The campaign is super gutsy and disruptive, and it's unlike anything ZOA has done in the past,” says Melanie Hellenga, chief marketing officer for the brand. “We are fortunate to have one of the biggest celebrities on our founding team, and Dwayne is front and center of this campaign, bringing the laughs and inspiration in a super relatable way.”

Like everything Johnson does, the multimillion-dollar campaign will be big. It’ll feature TV, digital and social ads, organic social and public relations, a partnership with the United Football League, seasonal promotions, sampling activations, truck wraps, retail tools that feature Johnson and out-of-home ads in target cities (Chicago, Denver, Charlotte and San Antonio).

“What we’ve heard from retailers is that they want to see more of him. He’s our vehicle to introduce ourselves to consumers and break through this highly competitive segment,” says Matt Stallman, Molson Coors’ senior portfolio manager for non-alcohol brands.  


The campaign kicked off this week with a new TV spot set to the chart-topping anthem "Big Energy" by the Grammy-nominated Atlanta rapper Latto. The spot shows ordinary people sipping ZOA and transforming into a "BDE" version of themselves, exuding confidence and swagger as they take on their day. 

The commercial, which has versions ranging from 10 seconds to 30 seconds, already has placements during highly anticipated network TV premieres, as well as the first round of the 2024 pro football draft.

Big play in energy

The energy drink segment is booming. According to Circana, it’s the fastest growing non-alc category, with 15.2% volume growth and 7.7% dollar growth in 2023 versus 2022.

Last year, ZOA introduced bright new packaging in a 12-ounce slim can to stand out on shelves and appeal to a broader audience. With zero sugar, ZOA also contains B and C vitamins and electrolytes, delivering features more consumers are looking for.

Having one of the world’s biggest stars promoting the brand on his social media platforms helps, too.

 “It's really authentic to who ‘The Rock’ is because it's his drink,” says Hellenga. “Dwayne and the other co-founders created ZOA Energy because they saw a gap in the market, and they wanted something that they could consume daily.”

ZOA is also going to make a bigger splash in convenience stores, where more than 66% of energy-drink purchases are made, according to Circana.

The brand has inked a deal with 7-Eleven to put ZOA in more than 9,200 stores across the U.S. The chain will carry five flavors, including a new mango flavor, exclusive to 7-Eleven. ZOA will also show up in nearly 2,300 locations of Speedway, which 7-Eleven owns. It also has another deal in place to put ZOA into one of the Midwest’s biggest c-store chains.

“That’s a huge win for us,” says Stallman. “7-Eleven is the type of retailer that other retailers look to.”

While Johnson helps get consumers to try the product, ZOA’s great taste brings them back, Stallman says.

Once people try ZOA, they love it and keep coming back,” he says.