Industry News | January 30, 2009

Gatorade Reveals Its Connection to Spike Lee-Directed Ads

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The Gatorade Company, a division of PepsiCo (PEP), will reveal for the first time it has been behind the "What's G" campaign in two new ads featuring an impressive roster of 16 athletes representing 10 sports on Super Bowl XLIII.

Narrating one of the ads is Grammy nominated artist Lil' Wayne, who defines what "G" means in a Gatorade context as the heart, hustle, and soul of athleticism. In the second spot, the athletes define what "G" means to them. Previous versions of the "What's G" commercials, which launched during the Rose Bowl, ended with only a "G." This approach left it to consumers to connect the ads to Gatorade through the "G" and iconic lightning bolt on the newly redesigned Gatorade Thirst Quencher packaging which began to appear on store shelves in December.

"Our tease 'G' campaign played out just as we planned by generating intrigue and conversation among people who often connected the dots to Gatorade and thought about the brand in a completely new context," says Sarah Robb O'Hagan, chief marketing officer for Gatorade. "When people create parodies of your commercial and post them on YouTube as several have, you know you've really engaged them."

In addition to the ads, Gatorade will have a major presence in the game with its coolers, cups, squeeze bottles, and towels, which have been officially fueling players on the sidelines of the NFL since 1983. Just as Gatorade has introduced a whole new look for its packaging, the brand is unveiling a transformed design for its sidelines equipment which elevates "G" along with the classic bolt logo.

"Having the world's best athletes drinking Gatorade during the most important game in their lives sends a powerful message to millions of Super Bowl viewers that nothing rehydrates, replenishes, and refuels better than Gatorade," says Dr. Craig Horswill, senior research fellow at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI).

Both Gatorade Super Bowl spots will drive people to a new online sports and entertainment network that will engage consumers in all the dimensions of "G" in a Gatorade context. The portal offers original content, entertainment programming, social networking and gaming and provides viewers opportunities to personalize their experience through specific channels, preference settings and subscriptions.

The site will showcase a new series featuring eight renowned athletes who confront extraordinary challenges, such as a mob of hecklers or a hyperkinetic dance group, on their quest for "G." The segments have an outrageously comic style that is a real departure from what people have come to expect from Gatorade. Also premiering on the site beginning Super Bowl Sunday are five shows:

Replay: What if you could replay the biggest high school football game of your life years later in front of a hometown crowd of 20,000? That's the premise of Replay. The series' first rematch focuses on one of the nation's most famous high school football rivalries, the Easton-area Red Rovers and the Phillipsburg Stateliners, which USA Today calls the "game of the century played every year." The series searches for the original players in the 1993 game (which ended in a 7-7 tie) and reunites them for training with specialists from the Gatorade Sport Science Institute and professional coaches. The ultimate tie-breaker will be played sometime in mid-April 2009.

Quest for G - the Series: Gatorade is on a search to find athletes with pure, raw talent but without the opportunity or resources for elite training. Gatorade will select eight individuals for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live together in an intensive boot camp with renowned sports legends Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Marv Marinovich, Mark Verstegen and elite specialists from the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI). The athletes will receive every opportunity to help them compete for the gold and reach the pinnacle of their sport.

Leave it on the Floor: "Cool" as defined by kids. "Leave it on the Floor" takes you on a tour inside dance culture -- defining the latest trends in fashion, music, choreography and swagger as it happens.

Blokhedz: Blokhedz chronicles the saga of young Blak, a 17 year old superhero in the form of an aspiring rapper blessed with a mystical gift to turn his rhymes into reality. Based on the hugely popular graphic novel of the same name.

Freestyle Sessions 10: The "Freestyle Sessions" is a competition amongst the world's best break-dancers. The 10th anniversary World Freestyle Sessions has 5000 competitors representing six continents.

The new portal, advertising, and sidelines redesign are part of an overall strategy to shake things up to appeal to a broader range of athletes and active people. Gatorade has also introduced enhanced product extensions with bold, loaded-with-athlete-attitude names like "Bring It," "No Excuses," "Be Tough," and "Shine On" on the label and the added nutrition benefits of vitamins inside.