As the fitness movement gains momentum in Pakistan, the prominence of sports drinks has surged, especially among sports and fitness enthusiasts. A recent entrant into the Pakistani market is 10Z – a non-carbonated sports beverage conceived by celebrity cricketer Shahid Afridi.
10Z has been positioned as a ‘sports drink’ rather than an energy drink (like Red Bull) in order to communicate that it is meant to assist consumers in maintaining their hydration and electrolyte levels during and after their physical activity routine. The communication also emphasises that the drink does not contain any harmful ingredients.
The inspiration behind 10Z is said to come from Afridi’s desire to produce a Pakistani sports drink that caters to athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Here, it is pertinent to note that despite the presence of sports drinks like Gatorade and Vitamin Water, until the launch of 10Z there were no prominent local brands.
According to Afridi himself: “The introduction of 10Z is the result of countless hours on the cricket field and a burning desire to elevate athletes’ performance. Inspired by the need for sustained energy and optimal hydration during intense matches, we have crafted 10Z to empower fellow players and enthusiasts to push their limits and achieve greatness.”
Speaking about the name itself, Muhammad Ibtisam, Director, 10Z, says that it was chosen by Afridi to evoke the number 10 jersey he wears during his matches, while the Z signifies Gen Z, although Ibtisam clarifies that the target demographic also includes active individuals, athletes and fitness enthusiasts. He adds that 10Z is different from similar drinks in the market because of its enhanced nutritional value which boosts energy and hydration. Notably, he says, unlike competitor brands, 10Z contains essential nutrients such as protein, Vitamin C, and magnesium and has a high potassium level.
In fact, the actual formulation of 10Z was developed by Mehran Bottlers, makers of Apple Sidra, Pakola and Vimto. To do so, Mehran conducted research studies on sports drinks and engaged with nutritionists. Mehran also oversee the manufacturing process, including the packaging and bottling. Speaking about his company’s role in developing the drink, Zeeshan Habib Teli, CEO, Mehran Bottlers says, “We are honoured to partner with 10Z, a creation by the iconic Shahid Afridi. As proud manufacturers, we share the vision of redefining hydration in order to further empower Pakistan’s athletes. Our commitment is to quality and excellence as we work together to make 10Z the top drink in the sports and fitness category.”
10Z is distributed by New Nest Distribution, which also distribute other Mehran Bottlers products. So far 10Z is only available in Karachi, although plans are underway to distribute in other cities. In the meantime, 10Z can also be purchased via e-commerce platforms such as Daraz.
10Z comes in two flavours: lemon and orange and is available in 400-millilitre bottles priced at Rs 100. 10Z opted for the 400-millilitre size to differentiate itself from competing brands which are available in 300-millilitre or 500-millilitre SKUs. This decision was also based on market research that determined that athletes often consume 400 millilitres of any particular beverage after working out.
Looking at the competitor landscape, Pepsi Co.‘s Gatorade and Searle’s Vitamin Water already have an established market position but are slightly more expensive than 10Z. Gatorade costs Rs 200 for a 500-millilitre bottle and is available in flavours such as Blue Bolt, Tropical Fruit and White Lightning. Vitamin Water costs Rs 100 for a 300-millilitre bottle and has five flavours; Apple, Coconut, Peach, Red Berries and Watermelon.
In Ibtisam’s opinion, despite the existing competition, 10Z is well placed to succeed thanks to Afridi’s strong backing. “Having Shahid Afridi himself as ambassador gives us an in-built advantage.”
Lahore based Half Full Moon Advertising conceived the ad campaign, which – no surprises here – prominently features Afridi and revolves around themes such as “Unleash Your Potential,” “Hydration Partner,” “Fuel the Fire,” and “Stay Energised.” The communication also highlights the “Made in Pakistan, Made for Pakistan” aspect of the product.
In terms of marketing, apart from social media and on-ground activities at sports events and health-related venues, the brand intends to establish partnerships with athletes and sports organisations to validate the drink’s effectiveness. This, says Ibtisam, “includes collaborations with forthcoming Sports Leagues, well-known Pakistani and international sportspeople as well as celebrities and influencers who live an active lifestyle.” In this respect, cricketer Christopher James recently praised 10Z after sampling it, adding credibility to the brand.
Given the current fitness landscape, which has seen the emergence of fitness clubs and gyms in various locations, the outlook for sports drinks appears promising and according to 10Z, the market response has been positive, indicating potential for growth and they plan to ensure its availability from “Karachi to Khyber.”