Recently, Gatorade released a series of ads that differ from their traditional, luminescently sweaty campaigns of the past. The new ads feature NFL players Peyton Manning and Cam Newton heckling unsuspecting customers who are trying to buy Gatorade. In one ad, Cam Newton physically slaps Gatorade out of an “average Joe’s” hands.
While the ad is quite funny, mainly due to the serious cashier, the surprise of the customer, and the juxtaposition between the customer and the sweaty Cam Newton, the message isn’t quite that clear.
Gatorade has long marketed itself as a product for athletes, and is extremely visible at almost every major sporting event in America. Gatorade has expanded into different verticals, selling energy bars, chews, and other fitness-related products to compliment their impressive stranglehold on the performance drink business. They have achieved this by making commercials emphasizing the “work hard” aspect of their products. Their origins commercial encapsulates this view perfectly:
Their most memorable ads featured athletes drinking Gatorade in different scenarios, working out, and sporting neon sweat the whole time. The impression was that Gatorade was this intense beverage that athletes like Michael Jordan used to dominate their competition. These ads didn’t disparage anyone, and gave off the impression that people who like to exercise could benefit by drinking Gatorade.
Why the tactic change? As seen in the “Sweat it. Get it” campaign, Gatorade is trying a different approach.
Their two celebrities, Peyton Manning and Cam Newton, are unattainable models for most of us. Manning owns a majority of NFL passing records, and Newton’s athleticism and physique mean he would be a success at just about any sport known to man. No matter how hard you try, you probably won’t ever come close to reaching these two men. However, past ads didn’t promise that. Past ads emphasized hard work and dedication, and positioned Gatorade as a drink that helps sustain and recover x person.
This new series of ads is an example of how a brand positions itself using different strategies in an attempt to stay fresh and current. Many ads have begun to embrace the snarky aspect of customer service-the customer isn’t always right. Gatorade seems to be trying to capitalize on that feeling, making the “average Joe” work to get their product, which everyone associates with sweat, hard work, and exercise. Will this campaign work? Time will tell. As of now, beating up on regular people might be accomplishable for NFL players, but for the rest of us, we just want our Gatorade.
1. Gatorade. 2014, August 18. Gatorade | Sweat It To Get It: Slap ft. Cam Newton. Retrieved on September 23, 2014.
2. Mausfilms. 2008, January 7. The Legend of Gatorade. Retrieved on September 23, 2014.