How Pedialyte’s Marketing Grew Up

Jan 8, 2019

If you’re a parent of young children, you might be surprised to know that college students across the country are now drinking Pedialyte.

For nearly half a century, Pedialyte served a single purpose. Its formula of water, electrolytes, sugar, sodium and potassium was primarily meant for rehydrating babies. However, in 2012, an older category of consumers found another use for Pedialyte — fighting off hangovers.

Pedialyte For The Dehydrated

While there’s no scientific cure for a hangover, dehydration is one of the symptoms. But whether or not Pedialyte actually works as a hangover cure was beside the point – millions of college students started posting about drinking Pedialyte after a long night of drinking, rappers started mentioning the drink in their songs, and before anyone knew it, the Pedialyte brand was in front of an entirely new market.

The company jumped at the opportunity to sell to this new demographic by launching a multi-faceted content marketing and PR campaign targeted at young adults. It started on social media with images of bearded young men sipping Pedialyte freeze pops. The company sponsored over 100 music festivals and sporting events by sending brand ambassadors to set up Pedialyte photo-ops, and even paid for branded articles on BuzzFeed with titles like “11 Dogs Who Are Thirstier Than You.”

Perhaps the most masterful aspect of this marketing push is the fact that the brand managed to tout itself as a cure for a hangover without explicitly claiming to be one.

Never Too Old To Change Your Tune

The brand’s effort to target an older demographic clearly worked. Sales to adults rose 57 percent since 2012, and adults now make up more than half of all Pedialyte sales. Their campaign proved that even after nearly 50 years of serving one niche demographic, it’s never too late to reach new customers or find new uses for your products or services.

Long story short: You never know when new markets will open up. Stay nimble from a marketing perspective and position your brand to capture them quickly.

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