AMC’s Breaking Bad Catches a Buzz With Jolt

AMC is getting amped for the season premiere of Breaking Bad, lining up Jolt Energy Drink as a sponsor of Vince Gilligan’s Emmy Award–winning series.

In conjunction with Breaking Bad’s March 21 return to AMC, Jolt Energy will distribute more than 1 million co-branded cans of its four signature flavors to some 6,000 U.S. retail locations. Each of the specially marked cans will bear a tune-in graphic featuring the Breaking Bad and AMC logos and the words “New Season, 10/9c.”

The Breaking Bad call-out is stamped onto the lower third of each can, directly below Jolt’s “Shock Your System” tag line.

While financial terms were not disclosed, the deal is structured as a cooperative swap, as AMC will grant Jolt air time and online real estate in exchange for the placement on the tagged cans.

The media exchange is contextually apt, given Breaking Bad’s adrenalized narrative and Jolt’s high-octane brew of caffeine, herbal stimulants (ginseng, guarana) and amino acids (taurine). Of course, there are limits. While the beverages are marketed as a quick, refreshing energy fix, Jolt doesn’t provide nearly as much kick as the stuff Breaking Bad’s Walter White (Bryon Cranston) is cranking out in his mobile drug lab. (For the uninitiated, those who populate the Breaking Bad universe might best be characterized as “all methed up and no place to go.”)

“Breaking Bad is an edgy show that pushes the envelope in every way possible: extreme characters, awesome action and outrageous situations,” said Theresa Beyer, AMC’s vp of activation and promotion. “The show’s heart thumping, in-your-face attitude is a perfect fit with the high intensity lifestyle that is Jolt Energy.”

Jolt CEO Bob Clamp concurred with Beyer’s assessment, calling the promotion a perfect pairing. “Like Breaking Bad, we’re a brand that’s always tried to push the envelope,” Clamp said. “Our fan base spans generations, topping out at longtime cult followers who grew up with us, and who dovetail nicely with the show’s dedicated, passionate audience.”
Introduced in 1985, under the banner “All the Sugar, Twice the Caffeine,” Jolt was a prime mover in the $4.9 billion energy drink industry, appearing on the scene long before the rise of brands like Redbull, Rockstar and 5-Hour Energy. In September, Jolt parent company Wet Planet Beverages filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, following a dispute with a packaging manufacturer.

As it looks for a buyer, Jolt is beginning to rev up its marketing efforts. On midnight Friday (March 19), Jolt Energy will relaunch its Web site, with an eye toward offering more interactive features. That said, the company’s actual marketing spend has been impacted by its financial difficulties. Per Nielsen, Jolt did not invest in measured media last year; in 2008, the brand spent just $11,000 on media ($3,000 on its beverage line and $8,000 on its chewing gum product).