Powerade Continues March Madness Underdog Commercials

Powerade continues its underdog status with another March Madness #PowerThrough campaign

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.

4 thoughts on “Powerade Continues March Madness Underdog Commercials

  1. David

    I was appalled with this ad and Powerade’s racist view of hockey. Showing a black male hockey player playing with all white players and the dialogue of “bet you don’t think I belong”.
    I love how racism can be a one way street…..how would this commercial have been received if they showed a white male with all black basketball players? I’ll answer that question, it wouldn’t air.


    1. BevWire

      Interesting take on this commercial. While your angle holds weight, I chose to analyze it from the underdog theme. From individuals characterized as smaller, tinier, slower, and not in the right sport relative to the norm, the true beauty of the commercial is that these are all forms of underdogs.

      With hockey alone, black hockey players are not the norm and stand as underdogs, but it’s not as if they are considered underdogs anymore. There are some very good hockey players in the NHL right now, I point your attention to Wayne Simmonds, Evander Kane, PK Subban, and the like. Even the No1 rated hockey prospect is black: Seth Jones.

      Please continue sharing your perspective on my posts, as it’s through these commentary interactions that I truly get to know what my readers care about!



  2. Pingback: Gatorade Lightning Bolt: Part of Every Athlete’s Success | BevWire

  3. jake

    how do black people stand as underdogs? They have been proven to be better athletes in every sport. Why would hockey be different?? And they are saying he is an underdog because of the color of his skin and thats wrong….


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