Gatorade are in an interesting position in a rapidly changing Australian market. They invented the ‘sports drink’ category over fifty years ago, and ever since have been defending their decreasing share of it. 

With competitors having the backing of Coca Cola (Powerade) as well as Frucor (Maximus), Gatorade are defending an ever-evolving definition of what the 'sports drink' category actually stands for, having the claim of '50 years of sport science on our side' as their traditional tagline, and the need to keep modern and relevant .

At TBWA, I’m involved in  TV, digital & social communications for the brand.



The Challenge: After a year and a half of being the principal partner of the AFL, Gatorade are still in the process of gaining awareness in this space that had been previously dominated by a Powerade sponsorship for the previous 5 years. On the back of a major TVC campaign in its first year that drove some awareness, this year’s strategy is about driving engagement.

The Insight: SCA’s (Social Competitive Athlete’s), who are Gatorade’s target, are always watching their heroes in awe, but very rarely get the chance to measure themselves up against them. This is something that is of value to them, more so than a promotion or tangible prize.

The Solution: We created a platform where our 4x Gatorade AFL ambassadors would throw down (G) challenges to the public, who could then respond through the Instagram platform with the “GChallenges” hashtag.

The Execution - Launch & Challenge videos

My Learnings: This campaign was really successful, with over 500 videos uploaded to the #GChallenges on Instgram over 6 weeks. My learning from the setup is how complex it is managing all the parties involved and getting the technology right. We have AFL working on the video production, website platform integration, and their owned social channels. There’s a 3rd party provider for the social integration for the hub to pull data from social. There’s managing the client which is always a high priority, and most importantly there’s the protection of the creative idea. 

The Results: Check out the case study below.

G Active

The Challenge: The 'sports drink' category is shrinking in Australia as people are becoming more health conscious, trading traditional sport and/or energy drinks for no sugar options. G Active - Gatorade's no sugar product - needed to launch in the Australian market in a uniquely Australian way.

The Insight: "Fitness Exercisers" (the target for G Active) have never found sports drinks to be of any relevance to them, as they don't align with their diet or lifestyle. Their lifestyles involve training and exercising, but not 'competing'. Their lives are about balance and health, and unsurprisingly they over index in talking about said balance and health on social media.

The Solution: We created the G Active HydroGym - Australia's first floating gym, placed on Sydney Harbour. Our target not only came to it, but posted about it non-stop for their duration of the experience. This was the leading element of an integrated campaign that included global asset adapts across TV, digital and social to support the launch.

The Execution: 

Gatorade Liquid Concentrate:

The Challenge: Launch a category first 'innovation' of concentrated sports, which outside the of the sports drink category is neither interesting or innovative (ie 'cordial' has been around forever).

The Insight: Sports drink is a purchase primarily made unplanned, on the way to training, if you have time. What if we could train the behaviour of keeping it in bulk in the cupboard / sports bag?

The Solution: Gatorade Liquid Concentrate fuels your week. We take two of the AFL's star players and follow their training week through the perspective of their bottles.

The Execution: 

Gatorade Fierce:

The Challenge: Whilst Gatorade hold credibility in the scientific and effective measurements of the sports drink category, they do not rank as well as their competitors do on 'taste'.

The Insight: Teenage SCA's do not buy their sports drink based on effectiveness, but on taste and 'cool factor' of the brand.

The Solution: Introducing Gatorade Fierce - the same formula of regular Gatorade, but with a bolder, more intense flavour. We were tasked to introduce the flavour in Australia in a culturally relevant way leveraging our AFL sponsorship, in a fun, bold, engaging way.

The Execution: 

Efficacy 2016:

The Challenge: In late 2015, Powerade came into the Australian for the first time with a message of scientific credibility through the introduction of its ‘ION4’ product. Gatorade had to defend its territory in this area by reinforcing the scientific ‘Efficacy’ message.

The Campaign: Whilst the age old message from Gatorade of replacing the good stuff you lose when you sweat with the right mix of carbs & electrolytes may seem like it’s been done before, it does have a hygiene job to do for each generation. This campaign was TVC lead and supported by digital and OOH to convey that ‘nothing beats Gatorade’.

The Execution

My Learnings: Whilst working on this campaign was a pretty standard global adapt piece with some AU additions (Scott Pendlebury and animation footage), it taught me that even the less sexy & exciting campaigns can be super effective - as the results via research agencies proved not long after the campaign concluded. With the awareness going through the roof for our target audience, helped by the fact the Powerade new product is not performing well on taste, it made me realise that (1) there is power in the celebrity, and (2) what is an old Gatorade message I’ve seen since I was a teenager is not moving the dial for me, it may very well be for teenagers today!

Cam Newton Social content

This was a video that was produced through the US agency VML liaising with us as the Gatorade Australia team.

I wasn't involved in the scripting and concept development so won't take credit for it, but it fitted in really nicely as a social content piece we ran out of the TBWA Sydney office that speaks to the brand truth: Win From Within. With which we communicate that athletic performance is not determined by what's on, but what's in. This piece executes it really nicely and brings out a well told story from a 3 day trip for the Carolina Panthers quarterback to Melbourne as part of Gatorade's 'Global Football Exchange' program.