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Why Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield is taking his chugging talents to BodyArmor

The highly touted rising star joins Kobe Bryant, Andrew Luck, James Harden, Mike Trout, Megan Rapinoe, and others as pro stakeholders in the sports-drink brand.

Why Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield is taking his chugging talents to BodyArmor
[Photo: Erik Drost/Wikimedia Commons]

At some point in the middle of the fourth inning of a 0-0 game between the Cleveland Indians and L.A. Angels on Saturday, the camera panned to the crowd and found Baker Mayfield casually sipping a beer. The Cleveland Browns QB quickly realized this wasn’t enough to get the crowd going, and so he dutifully cracked open the side of another beer with his teeth and shotgunned it. The crowd went wild, and after the home team rallied with five runs for an eventual 7-2 win, cue legend status. It had to be the chug.

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It’s been a busy week so far for Mayfield. A few days after the ceremonial shotgun, social media blew up again after he refused to end an autograph session until every soldier there had something signed. And today, Mayfield has joined BodyArmor as its latest pro athlete spokesperson and stakeholder.

Mayfield becomes the sports drink brand’s second NFL star (after Colts’ QB Andrew Luck), and continues the company’s habit of making any athlete spokesperson into a BodyArmor stakeholder, a list that so far includes Kobe Bryant, James Harden, Mike Trout, Dustin Johnson, Megan Rapinoe, Donovan Mitchell, and Mookie Betts, among others.

Mayfield says he’s been a BodyArmor customer for a while, and the brand’s already impressive list of athlete stakeholders also attracted him to this new partnership. “One of the first people involved with BodyArmor was Kobe Bryant, someone I’ve always looked up to mentality-wise, in terms of competing, really being who you are, and working for your success,” he says. “So all of that coming together made it the right fit. Then, the opportunity to be an investor is a great fit and feels natural.”

Mayfield will help grow awareness for the brand in Cleveland and among football fans nationwide. The brand is also sponsoring his QB RV, the vehicle for Browns quarterbacks at training camp made famous by the HBO series Hard Knocks.

“Nowadays, some of the deals look corny and forced, and that’s not what I want to do,” Mayfield says. “These days, the way social media and branding works, you have to have your own idea of just how you want the public to see you. I’ve always just been myself, and my route definitely hasn’t been the typical one. So when I’m picking something brand-wise or a sponsor, it has to be a natural fit and feel right. But I’m very patient. I’m not going to jump at a cash deal. It’s got to be the right thing. If I’m going to make a deal, it has to be something I truly approve of and use, and I can be proud to say I do use it.”

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For BodyArmor, it’s added an incredibly popular athlete who obviously knows how to work a crowd on and off the field. The company’s strategy of making athletes stakeholders, exuding a deeper partnership, combined with calling out market leader Gatorade for its sugar content, has helped it grow by leaps and bounds, with six straight years of 100% growth. Last summer Coca-Cola acquired a minority stake in the company, valuing it at $2 billion, and helped BodyArmor branding replace Powerade at the NCAA championships, including March Madness.

When asked if anyone suggested that his first ad for the brand should involve chugging a BodyArmor at a baseball game, Mayfield laughs. “Yeah, they brought that up.”

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About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.

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