Shark Energy Drink Seeks Creative Agency

LOS ANGELES Shark USA is meeting with Southern California agencies about creative to launch its Shark Energy Drink in the U.S., the company confirmed.

Mike Buttler, marketing manager of Shark USA, pegged fourth-quarter ad spending at $600,000. He expects to spend $5 million next year in California alone and “whatever it takes” to go national and overtake domestic market leader Red Bull.

Carlow Design, El Sequndo, Calif., and G&M Plumbing, Manhattan Beach, Calif., presented today at the company’s Torrance, Calif., office before Kittipong Wiriyamontri, vice president, and Soonthorn Kengvibul, deputy managing director of international business for parent Osotspa Co., Bangkok, Thailand.

Butler said the company is meeting early next week with WongDoody, Los Angeles, Rubin Postaer and Associates subsidiary Open Minds, Irvine, Calif., and two other local agencies. Omnicom’s BBDO handles Shark in Thailand, said Kengvibul, but is considered to have a conflicting client in the U.S.

“We’re looking at creative, but also the working mechanics of branding our name as well as experience in the category,” said Buttler. “We don’t plan on being one of the other energy drinks in the market, but number one.” Media buying has been assigned to Wingman Media, Marina del Rey, Calif., and Web design has gone to Dedica, Irvine, Calif.

Buttler insisted that the shop the company selects before the end of November is not a “starter agency” but one that should expect to take Shark Energy Drink national. Kengvibul said the company will “establish itself in California first, as Red Bull did in Japan. Then, after the first year, we’ll cover more of the United States.”

Kengvibul added that the creative presented in the agency meetings is “secondary to the ability to establish Shark as a brand name.” He said he is committed to spending at least as much on advertising as Red Bull, which spent $40 million in 2002, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.