Mascots Give Energy Drinks a Boost

QuikTrip sees continued growth as it adds its fourth beverage to growing line

TULSA, Okla. -- Almost five years after introducing its first private-label energy drink into a test market, QuikTrip Corp. unveiled its fourth product in the line this year with a summer-long promotion that gets in customers' faces with all the subtlety of a sports-team mascot.

In fact, QT's Energy Tour includes four mascotsRooster Booster, Donkey Kick, Ram Jam and Dr. Doggthat are traveling across the convenience store chain's market areas, letting customers know about the power-packed beverages. [The Energy Tour] is a fun deal, Mike Thornbrugh, manager [image-nocss] of public and government affairs for QT, told CSP Daily News. They're all four QuikTrip employees, and when they're not doing their mascot duties, they're working in our stores. They're having a great time.

QT introduced the Rooster Booster and Donkey Kick energy drinks in 2001. It added Ram Jam last summer, and Dr. Dogg was added this year, according to Thornbrugh. They do real well, he said. It's no secret that energy drink sales have increased dramatically for everybody.

And a big part of Tulsa, Okla.-based QT's marketing of the proprietary products this year has been the mascot program. Along with appearances in Tulsa, the four mascots have traveled to the Dallas-Fort Worth area; Wichita, Kansas; Kansas City, Mo.; St. Louis; and Des Moines, Iowa, according to a report in Tulsa World. The group is spending this week in Atlanta and will wind up the tour in Phoenix the week of August 14. Not only do the mascots make store appearances, they have also attended minor league baseball games.

Thornbrugh told the newspaper a notice was posted at the chain's stores early this year seeking individuals interested in the summer promotion. After the four were chosenthree men and one womanThornbrugh said the company tried to match up a person with the costume; we tried to find the best fit for each character.

Zach Efaw, a full-time clerk, was a natural for the job. It's something I got into in high school, he told the newspaper. I loved going to football and basketball games; I was the typical crazy fan with the painted face.

Efaw has been a QuikTrip mascot since April 2004. He originally wore the Donkey Kick costume; now he sports the outfit for one of the chain's newest drinks, Ram Jam. Since January 1, I've attended one event every week for QuikTrip, he said.

When Efaw and the other three employees are busy as mascots, they are relieved of their regular work duties. Along with the mascot outfits, Thornbrugh said vehicles also have been decorated to complement each of the drinks.

When visiting QuikTrip stores, the mascots distribute drink samples and coupons. They also pose with customers for pictures, some of which are posted on the chain's website,

They'll spend one week in the market, and they'll hit a percentage of the stores, Thornbrugh said. But it's too much to hit them all. It's also too hot, and they can't wear the costume all the time.