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The History of vitaminwater

J. Darius Bikoff started making vitaminwater (the brand name is stylized in all-lowercase letters) around 2000, following the success of his first foray into enhanced water products, smartwater. Rohan Oza, known as the "Brandfather" of Hollywood, served as vitaminwater’s Head of Marketing and enlisted sports stars like the Red Sox’s David Ortiz and Brian Urlacher of the Chicago Bears for the company’s first TV campaign. Notably, Oza offered celebrities equity in exchange for promotional work, which helped him fold in massive names. In addition to Ortiz and Urlacher, celebrities like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kelly Clarkson, and 50 cent (who was a fan before he was offered a stake in the product) also did promotional work for vitaminwater and helped make the product a household name. In 2007, Coca-Cola purchased Glaceau, the company responsible for making vitaminwater. After the acquisition, vitaminwater’s annual sales skyrocketed from $350 million to over $1 billion and the brand successfully established a global presence. While vitaminwater has become well-known for its off-beat advertising, the company has also landed in hot water for making health claims. Coca-Cola had to pay hefty legal fees and was required to change vitaminwater’s labels to display nutritional information more prominently and include the phrase “with sweeteners.” The company was also banned from making claims that the drink could reduce the risk of certain diseases or improve immune function. In 2014, the company stopped using only added sugar in the recipe and began incorporating some stevia into their drinks, but public outcry over the taste saw them switching back shortly after. (It is worth noting that the company does offer a line called vitaminwater Zero Sugar, which contains no added sugar and is instead sweetened with monk fruit and stevia.) Since launching in the early 2000s, vitaminwater has rolled out a series of uniquely named, appealing flavors and today, it remains a popular beverage that’s regularly stocked on grocery store shelves all over the world.

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