When most people feel the need for an extra boost of energy, they go for coffee or an energy drink like Red Bull. What happens, however, when your energy levels go down and there are no coffee shops open at that time of the day? Or maybe you are hiking in the mountains, and there is no convenience store in sight to replenish your energy drinks?
This was a problem Blake Settle was faced with about 3 years ago when he was a student at the University of Texas. One night, Blake was in the university’s library cramming for an exam, and he was feeling drowsy. It was late, all the coffee shops were closed, and he needed to study. The only option he had was the vending machine.
If it were someone else, maybe he’d have found something he could work with. However, Blake has type 1 diabetes, and the sugar in the energy drinks would do him more harm than good. So he resorted to chewing sugar-free gum to stay awake, and slowly, an idea popped up in his mind. As a chemical engineering major, why couldn’t he figure out a way of getting caffeine into chewing gum?
That thought led Blake on an exploration path. He set out to create a brand that would resonate with his fellow students looking for energy drink alternatives. In 2018, the idea brought forth REV GUM, a CPG brand that manufactures and distributes innovative chewing gum.
Although this was not a new concept in the market, REV GUM’s approach was different. Firstly, it was in touch with its main target group, the 18–28 demographic. This group leads an active lifestyle that would benefit from an extra boost of energy. They would also appreciate convenience in the way they received that boost.
The packaging was the first thing REV GUM worked on. Unlike its predecessors, who packed their gum in bags, REV GUM comes in a convenient resealable blister pack. This allows the consumer to have one piece of gum at a time and prevent spillage of the remaining gum.
The other thing they reinvented was the caffeine content in their gum. Previous energy gums contained an average of 40 mg of caffeine, almost the same as what a cup of green tea contains. REV GUM knew no one would drink that for an extra shot of energy and improved on it.
REV GUM’s chewing gum comes in two varieties: Regular Strength REV GUM contains 60 mg of caffeine, similar to what is contained in a shot of espresso, and Extra Strength REV GUM contains 100 mg of caffeine, like a double shot of espresso. This is closer to what consumers look for in an energy drink. In fact, the company says that one pack of REV contains the same energy as 6 cans of Red Bull.
The other reason why REV GUM succeeded is its marketing strategy. The company’s marketing director, Robb Hewett, was the former director of brand marketing for Monster Energy. He, therefore, knows all the innovations in the energy drink space and what works for today’s consumers.
In 2019, REV GUM launched in Buc-ee’s and became one of the top-selling products in the space. Other milestones include securing space in Loves, Pilot, 7-Eleven, AEFES, and CK Midwest. Currently, the company is preparing to launch in other big regional and national chains. In December, they expect to go live in Wawa.
REV GUM will be introducing new flavors of caffeinated chewing gum in the future too. Spearmint Regular and Extra Strength and Polar Mint Regular and Extra Strength will be the first to be released. The increased flavors and functionality will give consumers more options to pick from.