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OLIPOP Leverages Influencer Marketing with an Olympic Medalist to Improve Customer Acquisition Rate

  • Jackson Reynosa - SUBTA
  • Aug 19, 2021
  • 5 minute read

OLIPOP — a wholesale and subscription soda company — is featuring 2020 Olympic track runner, Gabby Thomas, in upcoming marketing campaigns. This move is in line with the brand’s goal of selling its soda products to more health-conscious consumers around the world. 

The company is hyper focused on creating drinks that support gut health. Its low-sugar, high-fiber products offer digestive support to soda lovers. A partnership with the multi-medalist runner reinforces the company’s health-first mentality and supports its plan to acquire more consumers.

Read on to learn how OLIPOP’s latest influencer marketing initiative will likely help the company to facilitate more brand awareness in the subscription nutrition industry.

A Rising DTC Powerhouse

OLIPOP has quickly become a direct-to-consumer (DTC) powerhouse. Its subscribe & save model allows consumers to select soda deliveries for every two, four, or eight weeks. Customers can select their favorite flavors, save on subscription products, and easily cancel or manage their shipments.

Since its online launch in 2019, OLIPOP soda sales are growing — particularly in the subscription sector. While the beverage company has products in more than 5,000 grocery stores around the world, nearly 50% of its revenue comes from its e-commerce site

The company experienced rapid growth throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. “That’s where things took off for us. We’ve seen more than a tenfold increase in D2C sales over the past 12 months or so,” said David Lester, Co-Founder of OLIPOP.


The company had 500 subscribers between its online launch in Q4 2019 and Q2 2020, per eMarketer and Insider Intelligence. Since then, OLIPOP has garnered 5,000 subscribers, and growth keeps coming. 

OLIPOP has been able to develop a loyal subscriber base, particularly through its SMS acquisition channel. It sold $15,000 worth of its new blackberry vanilla flavor in 15 minutes via text, per eMarketer and Insider Intelligence.

SUBTA was able to speak with Steven Vigilante, OLIPOP’s Growth Marketing Manager, on how the company achieves success through this strategy.

“SMS gives us a private, one-on-one way to communicate with our ~15k or so most valuable customers,” he said. “We treat each subscriber ‘like gold’ and give them full flexibility over their subscription. One example of this is: we proactively send a text before your next subscription order ships, which allows you to swap/skip/pause/cancel by just replying to the text.”

Moving forward, OLIPOP is looking to continue its growth by meeting the right consumers where they are.

“We’re really trying to understand where our consumers are coming from,” Vigilante said to eMarketer and Insider Intelligence. OLIPOP is not just focused on acquiring more consumers, it is particularly looking for the “most profitable, highest value consumers.”

In an effort to improve the lifetime value of each new OLIPOP customer, Vigilante and his team have turned to a popular form of influencer marketing: The Olympic Games.

OLIPOP Partners with ‘World’s Greatest’ to Find Olympic Athlete Fit

150 million Americans tuned into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics — and many saw Gabby Thomas win bronze in the 200-meter final and silver in the 4×100 relay.

As it turns out, Thomas is also a longtime fan of OLIPOP. Olympic marketing platform ‘World’s Greatest’ was able to connect Thomas and OLIPOP, resulting in a lucrative partnership for both parties.

“[Gabby’s] story is INCREDIBLE,” Vigilante told SUBTA. “She is very knowledgeable on the brain-gut axis — a concept that is core to us at OLIPOP — and was already drinking the product when we met her. She cares deeply about ingredients and what she puts in her body.”

This new partnership can get many health-minded individuals on board with OLIPOP’s healthy soda products. Olympic athletes are hyper aware of maintaining a healthy diet and OLIPOP looks to leverage this type of attitude to increase the credibility of its brand.


Photo Credit: @drinkolipop on Instagram

“We look to partner with great people who are organically fans of our product, and Gabby checked both those boxes in spades” Vigilante told SUBTA. “We’re hoping other top-tier athletes follow in her footsteps and start partnering with brands that they actually align with.”

Thomas is also currently getting a masters in Public Health at the University of Texas, making her partnership with OLIPOP speak volumes on the company’s standing in the healthy beverage industry.

“As an athlete with a background in public health, I’m very careful about what I put into my body and have always been fascinated by the connection between what we consume and the way it makes us feel,” said Thomas in an OLIPOP press release.

Olympians Partnering with Subscription Companies

Partnering with Olympians has been a proven mechanism to propel brand awareness for subscription companies — and it’s nothing new for the athletes. 

According to Forbes, endorsements earn superstars Simone Biles and Alex Morgan earn $5 million annually — each. Katie Ledecky (Swimming) and Sue Bird (Basketball) follow in close pursuit at $3 and $1 million, respectively.

For example, Peloton featured nine olympic athletes — including runners Usain Bolt, Allyson Felix, Andre De Grasse — in its ‘Meet the Champions’ promotion. Likewise, swimming superstar Michael Phelps is currently endorsing the subscription therapy app, TalkSpace.

What’s Next for OLIPOP?

This partnership is a prime example of how a subscription company can tap into recent entertainment trends to reach new customers. OLIPOP has seen immense growth over the past year, and Thomas’ involvement is an indication that the company plans to keep the momentum going.

In the near future, OLIPOP will focus on getting its soda products into the hands of the everyday consumer.

“The next 12-24 months are about positioning OLIPOP more towards a ‘mainstream’ consumer instead of the ‘wellness’ consumer (ie. Target/Walmart instead of just Whole Foods/Sprouts),” Vigilante told SUBTA.

Gabby Thomas won’t be the only Olympic athlete to be featured in a future OLIPOP marketing campaign, either. 

“Our partnership [with ‘World’s Greatest’] actually gives us access to all 300+ of their athletes and we are going to be working with more of them,” Vigilante added.

Key Takeaways: 

  • OLIPOP — a wholesale and subscription soda company — will feature 2020 Olympic track runner, Gabby Thomas, in upcoming marketing campaigns.
  • The company has grown its subscriber base from 500 to 5,000 subscribers in just a short period of time, due largely to its e-commerce sales.
  • OLIPOP was linked to Thomas through its partnership with the Olympic marketing platform, ‘World’s Greatest.’

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