Have you seen the latest Powerade commercial? It doesn’t explicitly say it’s for March Madness (which they did with their Coke Zero March Madness Campaign), but it’s still the same underlying message, and they are releasing this right when March Madness started. It seems that I was wrong after only seeing a Coke Zero commercial for March Madness this year. Coca-Cola is not only leveraging from a position of strength with their zero-calorie soft drink, but also continuing to capitalize on their underdog status with their sports drinks. Why is there a need to also release a commercial and reminder for Powerade during March Madness, especially since they have already done an ad spot for Coke Zero? Won’t this be conflicting, and hurt their overall business?
In the spirit of continuing their March Madness underdog theme, releasing a commercial that celebrates and glorifies the little guy is the right thing to do. Consider also the tweets the Powerade account sent out to support the Harvard Crimson basketball team which won its first NCAA game over New Mexico. Consider also the Sweet 16 round still involved three double-digit-ranking basketball schools in this year’s do-or-die tournament: Florida Gulf Coast University, Oregon, and La Salle. Even the Final Four include Wichita State, which is the ninth-ranked seed for the West region.
Here’s the Powerade commercial below:
While the Coke Zero commercial focuses on the spectator, Powerade caters to the athlete. A different target market, a different user. That alone should imply minimal cannibalization since these are two different groups of people. By implementing a dual brand strategy this year – instead of switching the focus to a broader audience base as I had previously believed – Coca-Cola is increasing their investment and support behind this event. Although this should not hurt their business, there is minimal cross-benefit since these are two different beverage segment and two different buyers. In actuality, Coke Zero may simply be a blocking tactic to keep competitive soda messaging from dominating the tv screens during the tournament, and Powerade may be a investmentt tactic for their college messaging to show their collegiate athlete support.
At the very root of this commercial is Powerade’s message that they are still the underdog and they dare you to doubt them. Which ultimately implies that Powerade may have some plans this year to trim Gatorade’s share leadership beyond March Madness. Keep on the lookout for more Powerade activity.