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, we own the brand strategy and ATL comms across both local and global campaigns.
Usain Bolt x Cricket Ashes:
The Challenge: 10 days before Usain Bolt was set to come to Australia for a promotional tour, Gatorade were informed they'd get access to him for one day in Melbourne if they could find a good link between him and the Ashes cricket matches between England and Australia. The challenge was simply bringing these assets together in a way that made sense and had Gatorade's product benefits at the core of the idea.
The Insight: Usain Bolt is the fastest man on earth, speed & endurance are things that Gatorade enhance in athletes, and one of the most overlooked and undervalued statistics in the game of modern cricket is the speed that the athletes can run.
The Solution: We bought together the assets to create 'The Bolt Rate', a new metric in cricket we launched for the Ashes that measures player run speed between the wickets. And created a new competition within the game - which professional cricketer would clock the highest Bolt Rate?
Media launch film
My Learnings: Bringing together such a massive asset in Usain Bolt, along with Cricket Australia's conditions really means fighting for the brand role in any media pieces to ensure the brand story isn't diluted (no pun intended) by the PR-friendly hooks.
Women in Sport:
The below is the USA execution of a global strategy I worked on as part of the TBWA Sydney team.
We developed a globally relevant insight around women's participation in sport dropping off by 50% between the ages of 13- 17, leading to them missing out of developing qualities such as grit, determination, resilience, leadership, teamwork, ambition, ability to deal with failure and many more.
At the same time, boys participation increases.
There needs to be change, and Gatorade have the opportunity to be a relevant brand with purpose to educate and inspire teenage girls to stay in sport.
This drop off in sport participation is fuelled by the media under representing women, brands who mis-represent women in sport by using models to promote their products, and often not providing relatable sports stars as role models.
Add to that the social pressures to act a certain way as a female moving through her schooling years and it's no wonder there's such a drop off when it comes to sporting participation.
It also presents a brand opportunity on a global scale for Gatorade, as it opens up a new audience who traditionaly don't consume the product, for the exact reason we're trying to solve: they're not actively engaged in sport.
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 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.
Media launch film
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 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 Challenge: When Powerade came into the Australian market with a message of scientific credibility through the introduction of its ‘ION4’ product, Gatorade had to defend its territory in this area by reinforcing its scientific credentials.
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’.
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 we produced with the TBWA global team (based in LA) that told story of a trip that Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton took to Melbourne as part of Gatorade's 'Global Football Exchange' program - to tell the Win From Within brand platform story.