College Athletes as Investors: Bazooka Candy Brands’ Fresh Take on Sports Marketing


By Alexa Linchuck | May 24, 2024

Bazooka Candy Brands, a beloved name in the candy industry since the 1940s, is embracing the new age of sports endorsements through a groundbreaking partnership with college athletes and NIL stars like Deja Kelly and Flau’jae Johnson. Famous for fun classics such as Ring Pop, Push Pop, and Baby Bottle Pop, Bazooka is pioneering a strategy where athletes are not just endorsers but investors. This new approach signals a strategic evolution for the brand, aiming to infuse a fresh, youthful energy into its traditional image. 

Deja Kelly, a women’s basketball player who recently transferred to Oregon from North Carolina, and Flau’jae Johnson, a standout women’s basketball player for the LSU Tigers, represent the new wave of college athletes who are leveraging their NIL rights for more than just endorsement deals. By investing in Bazooka Candy Brands, these athletes are taking an active role in the brand’s growth and outreach, connecting with fans in a manner that transcends traditional advertising. Their involvement goes beyond the surface, aiming to inspire and engage with a new generation of consumers who value authenticity and direct connections with their sports heroes. 

The partnership includes 60 athlete investors, encompassing talent from across the MLB, NBA, NFL, and NCAA, highlighting the wide appeal and inclusive approach of Bazooka Candy Brands. The collaboration with such a diverse group of athletes ensures that the brand not only retains its relevance but also enhances its engagement strategies across various demographics and sports fans. 

In the realm of NIL and college athletics, this partnership stands out for its mutual benefits. Athletes like Kelly and Johnson gain a unique opportunity to expand their personal brands and influence within the market while also having a say in the creative and marketing processes of the products they represent. For Bazooka, the inclusion of these athletes in decision-making and promotional strategies guarantees deeper market penetration and authenticity in their campaigns. 

As the world of endorsements expands to include deeper, more equitable relationships between brands and athletes, Bazooka Candy Brands is setting a precedent with its innovative approach. Watch how this partnership evolves as Bazooka leverages the star power and fresh ideas of young athletes like Deja Kelly and Flau’jae Johnson, aiming to score big both on and off the court. 

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