Sparks is an alcoholic energy drink created by a San Francisco-based beverage marketing
firm, McKenzie River Corporation, in 2002. During this time, there is an emergence of energy
drinks in the beverage industry. Energy-alcohol cocktails such as Red Bull & Vodka and Jager-
Bomb (Jagermeister and Rock Star) became popular at bars and clubs. Sparks was the first drink
of its kind in the beverage industry.
The Marketing Mix
The price of a 16 oz can of Sparks is about $1.70.
Since its change in ownership,
distribution of Sparks has greatly increased. They are sold in most supermarkets, liquor stores,
and convenience stores such as 7-11. Sparks, however, has not made an appearance at trendy
bars or clubs. Sparks does not run any advertisements as of Miller’s acquisition in 2006.
The direct competitors of Sparks are other premixed alcoholic energy drinks. . The most
notable was Budweiser Extra- a” beer with caffeine, ginseng, guarana, and a crisp refreshing
taste.” Such drinks gained no significant part of the market share. Instead, Sparks main
competitors are energy-alcohol cocktails such as Red Bull and Vodka and Jager-Bombs. Indirect
competitors, such as beer and non-alcoholic energy drinks, also play an important part in Sparks
Sparks position themselves as a “beer with a kick.” Sparks is found in the beer section of
stores rather than in the malt beverages section. Sparks is available in three versions- Original,
Light, and Plus. Light is the diet Sparks- adhering to the convention used in the beer industry.
Spark contains 6% alcohol by volume in their Light and Original versions and a 7% alcohol by
volume in the Plus version. This surpasses typical beers- light beer (Bud Light and Miller) has 3-
4% and Corona, Heineken, ales and lagers has 4-5%. Sparks claim to provide the same energy
boast as other energy drinks such as Rock Star and Monster- containing the same natural
ingredients such as caffeine, taurine, guarana, and ginseng.
Their creative website with its drawing-on-a-dorm-wall motif, gives off a very original
and young independent vibe. We assumed their target demographic to be young adults still in
college or recent graduates. People in this demographic segment are young and seeking
independence and are more likely to try a new alcoholic drink- a prefect audience for Sparks.
Market Segments and Behavior
To form a better understanding of consumer’s behavior toward Sparks, we developed
psychographic characteristics we believed to make the core part of Sparks’ target demographic
market. We categorized the users of Spark into two groups- the primary segments which we
named “Night-Lifer” and the secondary segment which we named the “Sports-Fanatic.”
Night-Lifers tend to be hip, trendy, and popular. They participate frequently in social
events- these folks not only go to the parties but the after-parties. Often times these events