Ariana Grande, 2014.

Ariana Grande in an advertisement for Wat-AAH!

Courtesy of Wat-AAH!

Rose Cameron, founder and CEO of youth-targeted bottled water brand Wat-AAH!, expressed three goals at her company board meeting in January. The first was to host a successful art exhibition for its Drink Up campaign (First Lady Michelle Obama ended up appearing.) The second was to expand the water’s retail footprint (founded in 2008, it’s now available in 15,000 U.S. stores and thousands of schools across the country.) And the third was to work with Ariana Grande.
 
Though Wat-AAH! had previously collaborated with Beyonce on the First Lady’s Let’s Move campaign, and most recently with teenage R&B trio OMG Girlz, Cameron needed to make a splash with a long-term partner. “We truly needed a superstar that could get the word out very strongly to the kids and teens we’re after,” Cameron says, noting that kids 6 to 13 are Wat-AAH’s core target.
 
The latter goal was daunting to Cameron at first, since the 21-year-old pop phenom had never endorsed a brand before. But after hitting it off during their first meeting, Grande quickly signed on to be Wat-AAH!’s newest official spokesperson and an equity partner in the company, investing an undisclosed sum. In return, Wat-AAH! will collaborate Grande with a limited-edition bottle and prep its biggest marketing campaign yet for early 2015 in print, digital and outdoor.
 
“Living a healthy lifestyle is so important to me, and this is one of the reasons I chose to partner with Wat-AAH!,” Grande said in a statement. “My fans are my everything, and because of this, I could only endorse something I believe in. Also, I love drinking water and I want to inspire my fans to do the same. Now as a partner in the company, I am excited to share Wat-AAH! with everyone!”
 
Sales of Wat-AAH! have been increasing at an annual growth rate of more than 220%, as bolstered by distribution at Wal-mart, Kroger and Harris Teeter chains. Cameron hopes the new pact with Grande will accelerate things even faster. “[Ariana] loves the packaging, loves the brand and wanted to do it right away,” Cameron says. “We believe the brand is edgy and contemporary, which she will definitely help us push as well. The most amazing part about Ariana is that she appeals to young kids but also the 20-and-over college kids and even their parents.”