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Odell Beckham Jr. is taking Pedialyte from the baby aisle to the NFL

The newest sports drink used to be just for kids with diarrhea.* (*Not the official tagline)

Odell Beckham Jr. is taking Pedialyte from the baby aisle to the NFL
[Photo: Kirk Irwin/Getty Images]

Cleveland Browns wide receiver and overall NFL superstar Odell Beckham Jr. has signed on to endorse a new sports drink as well as serve as the brand’s creative director.

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Nope, it’s not Gatorade.

Or Powerade.

Or BodyArmor.

Or even one of the many electrolyte-infused waters.

In fact, before today, the easiest place to find this brand was in the baby aisle.

Yep, it’s Pedialyte.

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“I learned about Pedialyte from my mom,” said Beckham Jr., in a statement. “And since then I’ve been turning to it not just when I am training or playing, but also when I’m traveling, whenever I need it—because it works. Now, I’m excited to tell my fans all about it.”

[Image: courtesy of Pedialyte]
 Abbott, the healthcare company that makes Pedialyte, calls it a “natural progression,” with athletes like Beckham Jr. discovering its balance of fluids and electrolytes, to the point where adult usage now accounts for more than 50% of overall sales, with sports and fitness being the second most-popular reason people pick up Pedialyte. “When you think about the strenuous demands on elite athletes—fluid and electrolyte loss due to sweat, heat, and even weekly travel to games—they need a fast, effective rehydration solution to keep them performing at their best,” says Chris Calamari, vice president and general manager of pediatric nutrition at Abbott.

Pedialyte’s evolution all started with baby diarrhea. As any parent knows, dehydration in infants is bad, so you do what any responsible, possibly panicked adult would: You run to the pharmacy and buy a jug of Pedialyte. Your child will drink it and get all the nutrients and minerals they need to get better, and everyone will sleep well in a dehydration-free household. From there, the progression continues to one Sunday morning after some particularly enthusiastic Saturday night cocktails, and your head is hurting, your body aching, you open the fridge and notice that big jug of unfinished Pedialyte way at the back. So you give it a try. And it works! To the point where people have even created Pedialyte cocktail recipes. What’s good enough for an angelic infant also happens to be good enough for a raggedly hungover adult.

The next step in this hydration transformation, of course, is sports, and this partnership with Beckham Jr. is its first official entry into the increasingly crowded sports-drink market, though Calamari notes that this deal is basically making official what had been one of the worst-kept secrets about the brand’s value. And in fact, Pedialyte actually started targeting adult consumers in 2015.

Teaming with Beckham Jr., though, takes things up a level. Pedialyte will launch the partnership with Beckham Jr. with a billboard in New York City’s Times Square that’ll debut today. As brand ambassador, Beckham Jr. will contribute to marketing content and product development. “As a dynamic trendsetter across a variety of verticals, including music and fashion,” Calamari says, “we’re excited for Beckham to bring his creativity and entrepreneurial spirit to the Pedialyte brand.”

You’ll still be able to find it in the baby aisle, though.

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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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