Coconut water startup picks Spool as US agency

Former MillerCoors CMO David Kroll is CEO of Coco5.

CHICAGO: Coconut water sports drink startup Coco5 has picked Spool as its first PR agency in the U.S. 

The company did not conduct a formal account review but instead spoke to a few agencies before finding that Spool was "the best fit for the brand," said Coco5 CEO David Kroll. 

The search began in the spring and the company signed Spool midway through this month. 

"Spool is leading all PR activity for the brand," Kroll said. "We're not constructed to have an AOR, but we're not currently working with any other PR partners. Catherine [Merritt, CEO of Spool,] came from Olson, who lead PR when I was at MillerCoors. It's a good fit between Spool and Coco5, given both of our startup mindsets and bigger-company pedigree."

Kroll declined to reveal financial details of the deal but said the contract will last into next year.

Merritt is serving as strategic and senior counsel on the account. Spool SVP Caroline Russo will lead account work with support from VP Laura Schlageter and account executive Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick.

Kroll said he wants Spool to expand on the word-of-mouth success his company has had and "to put more marketing rigor behind sharing the messaging, product attributes and reasons to believe to reach more active consumers."

He added that Spool’s PR efforts will rely on earned media and will promote the brand via retail roadshows and trials. 

"We want to get this product in front of as many consumers as we can to drive trial and quickly convert that into sales," he said.

Kroll was CMO of MillerCoors from 2015 to 2018. Previously, he worked at Dyson, Unilever and Wrigley, according to his LinkedIn account. 

Coco5’s retail footprint is primarily in Illinois, where it is sold in about 100 retail locations in and around Chicago, Peroria and Decatur. Those outlets include grocery chains such as Whole Foods and Kroger and regional retail chains such as Sunset Foods and Mariano's, as well as specialty outlets like gyms and yoga studios. 

The drink is standard in 60 professional and collegiate locker rooms across North America and is endorsed by Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris, Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris and Montreal Canadiens right wing Adam Shaw, according to the company. 

In May, the research company Market Research Engine published a study predicting the global market for coconut water could reach $2.5 Billion by 2024.

Merritt launched Spool, which is based in Chicago, last year after serving as consumer practice leader for MSL.

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