Back to Sports for Gatorade

Launching new ad campaign returning focus to sports drinks

CHICAGO -- Gatorade launching a new advertising campaign to reposition its brands away from being seen as a traditional beverage and back to being seen as a sports-nutrition drink, reported Chicago Breaking Starting today, the Chicago-based unit of PepsiCo Inc. will be promoting, through commercials, its "G Series," a trio of products it introduced earlier this year that targets student athletes looking for a drink before, during and after a workout or athletic event.

"It's a more holistic view," Morgan Flatley, director of consumer engagement at Gatorade, [image-nocss] told the news outlet. "In our mind there's a tremendous amount of opportunity for the types of product we can deliver in the future for before, during and after activities."

PepsiCo's sports drink sales were hit by the recession, said the report, as consumers limited their spending. Last year, Gatorade volumes declined 16%, according to Beverage Digest. The company's sports drink market share also took a hit when it discontinued Gatorade Tiger Focus in November 2009, publisher John Sicher told CBB.

"It became a brand which was cool to walk up and down the street with," Sicher said. "And in 2009 it lost some of that volume."

In April, Gatorade introduced the "G Series," which helped to boost PepsiCo's growth in the second quarter. In 2010, Gatorade sales volumes are up 15%, and Gatorade has about 71% of the $6.7 billion sports-drink category, Beverage Digest said.

Gatorade "is basically taking the brand back to its core, which is a hydration beverage for athletes, and that has begun to resonate, which is why base Gatorade is back to double-digit growth," Sicher said.

While Gatorade controls the segment, it competes with many other brands, including Coca-Cola's Powerade, Vitamin Water and All Sport. Sports drinks are designed to help with rehydration and typically boast electrolytes and other nutrients. Gatorade's ads seek to differentiate its line from competitors.

The commercials that begin airing Wednesday will feature New York Jets runningback LaDainian Tomlinson and Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard. A third commercial featuring Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt is slated for January.

The company has said that Gatorade is working to focus on athletes, rather than couch potatoes who drink the stuff for the aspirational value. The "G Series" is aimed at teenage athletes and seems to explain the benefits of each product.

In April, Gatorade plans to move beyond the high school-age athlete to 18- to 24-year-old exercisers with "G Series Fit," said the report. Another trio of products for before, during and after, these drinks are designed for those consumers involved in solo activities like yoga or running.