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    Cytomax Takes A Run At Gatorade, Powerade

    New sports drink to expand into new markets.

    Cytomax sports beverage plans to capture market share from Gatorade and Powerade with its first ready-to-drink SKU, which will be heralded by veteran NFL wide receiver Jerry Rice and New York Yankees pitcher Randy Johnson in a multimillion-dollar marketing effort.

    The 16-year-old brand is a scientifically advanced complex carb, electrolyte performance sports drink that was previously available only in powder form at such specialty retailers as GNC. It is purchased largely by professional athletes who prefer it as a low-carb, low-sugar alternative to the leading sports drinks (3 grams of sugar vs. 14 in Gatorade Endurance Formula; 42 grams in Gatorade Performance Series). It is now available in ready-to-drink Wicked Orange, Furious Fruit and Citrus Blast.

    According to Brandweek magazine, marketing efforts for the brand will center around endorsement deals with long-time fans Rice and Johnson, whose images will grace the brand's first consumer print ads, next year in titles including Outside, Men's Fitness and Sports Illustrated. Customized sampling vans will tour 100 sporting events where Cytomax is either the official sports drink or official event sponsor. Key to the effort is expanded retail distribution across all channels: Albertsons, 7-Eleven and Long's drug chain in August.

    "There is a real consumer thirst for viable options to the leading sports drink," said Chris Running, CEO at Cytomax, Benicia, Calif. "We've proven ourselves in the performance sports segment. Now our goal is to match this success in the mainstream and get Cytomax into the gym bags of all American athletes."

    Said Rice, who will conduct youth sports education programs in select markets, "This is not about lending my name to enhance my paycheck. I've been a long-term customer of Cytomax and believe in its ability to deliver the right energy and hydration to training athletes."

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