Over the last couple of years, it has been rare to tune into a college sporting event without mention of the new NCAA name, image and likeness (NIL) policies presenting exciting and unique opportunities for college athletes and brands alike. This monumental shift in the NCAA rules regarding NIL deals is a huge step forward in student athletes rights and an incredible opportunity for brands to target a far-reaching demographic of consumers.
Foundationally, the NIL policies comprise three elements known as “right of publicity” which include name – used to identify and address someone, image- photographs, imagery or videos of someone and likeness – the students’ identity as an athlete that makes them marketable. Already utilizing and seeing success with similar sports partnerships such as Olympic athletes, Fuel Up to Play 60 NFL ambassadors and as the official nutrition partner of the Dallas Cowboys- expanding into college athletes to promote Built w/ Chocolate Milk and other sports nutrition messaging was a natural fit for Dairy MAX.
College athletes present a unique marketing opportunity for Dairy MAX. They are health-conscious, making them the perfect fit to share the many nutritional and recovery benefits of dairy, but are also diverse in many ways, including gender, sport, background, and channels where they share information. This diversity presents more opportunities to partner with female athletes and reach other sports outside of football. Collegiate athletes are also at the perfect age to capture the attention of the Gen Z audience (ages 11-26).
“We’re excited to partner with college athletes to showcase the benefits of dairy in their everyday diet,” says Jennie McDowell, vice president of business development at Dairy MAX. “We know that more than half of Gen Z is active on TikTok, and we’re working hard to build trust with them. They tend to trust the influencers they follow on that platform, and with the help of our NIL athletes, we want the Gen Z consumer to see dairy as a trusted source of nutrition.”
Dairy MAX has partnered with three female student athletes from different sports, universities, and backgrounds. However, despite their differences, they all have similarities to the mission of Dairy MAX and unique connections to the themes Dairy MAX already focuses on, like post-workout recovery with chocolate milk, heart health, cooking, and farming. These young women have 26.4K followers on Instagram and 127.7K followers on TikTok combined.
“We all believe in the nutritional benefits of dairy, but it is exciting to see Dairy MAX seeking out like-minded individuals with a broader and more diverse reach to share that message,” says Todd Green, vice president of industry image and relations for Dairy MAX. “Partnering with student-athletes allows us to utilize another channel with a heavy Gen Z audience who quickly become independent decision-makers regarding their health and consumption behaviors. I think that presents an incredible opportunity for our dairy farmers.”
Over the next year, the athletes will post about dairy several times throughout the year and make some in-person appearances. The agreement runs through the 2022-2023 school year.
About the Athletes:
Asjia O’Neal, who plays volleyball for The University of Texas at Arlington, survived two heart surgeries from a mitral valve leak condition but pushed through adversity to return to the court.
Trinity Bolden, who runs track and field for Southern University, is a self-proclaimed foodie, who loves to cook and posts regularly about food.
Brionna Warren, who plays softball for Texas A&M University, grew up on her family’s ranch and successfully showed cattle as a proud member of 4-H.