Gatorade Turns 50 in 2015

Gatorade celebrate's its 50th birthday with a commercial highlighting its most memorable sports moment.
Gatorade celebrate’s its 50th birthday with a commercial highlighting its most memorable sports moment.

It’s been 50 years since Gatorade was created by a team of University of Florida scientists to help the Gators football team stay hydrated.  Since then, the sports drink giant has created a beverage category that helps athletes replenish  lost electrolytes.  The brand kicked off its half-century birthday celebrations with a commercial titled “50” that highlights memorable moments in its history.  While I’m not familiar with most of the memorable moments, the folks over at Slate have captured these 50 Gatorade memorable moments (link here).  The commercial highlights some athletes multiple times, as it would appear that some athletes have been critical to Gatorade’s place in history.  Will the brand embrace more retro ads this year?  It seems they have already done so.  Check out the Gatorade “50” commercial below:

After releasing this ad to close off 2014, Gatorade also went retro with another one of their more recent advertisements.  They have gone back to one of the brand’s most popular athletes to help commemorate their birthday.  Near mid-February, Gatorade released a remastered version of their “Be Like Mike” Micheal Jordan commercial.  Jordan was one of the company’s first athlete spokespersons, and serves as a symbol of their longstanding partnership with the NBA. See the new (old) commercial below:

This isn’t the first time that Gatorade has gone back to Micheal Jordan or retro advertisements to tout the brand’s place in sports.  Consumers certainly still connect with Micheal Jordan as one of basketball’s greatest athletes, and the athlete himself can be seen with Gatorade products frequently through his successful NBA career.  Putting a second focus on something that has worked well in the past is also nothing new in the advertising world.  Brands go back to defining moments to stir up nostalgia in hopes of recreating the magic.

This would make sense for Gatorade since the hydration segment has become fragmented in the years since its inception.  Next to Powerade are energy drinks, coconut water, flavored water, and a host of other alternatives.  Consumers have more beverage choices now when it comes to hydration and recovery.  Gatorade’s competition is stronger than ever, and it would serve the brand well to remind consumers of why it mattered to them in the first place.  And to help remind them, Gatorade is also bringing back Citrus Cooler, one of its discontinued but more popular drink flavors. Further cementing the retro theme, Citrus Cooler will return in old Gatorade bottles and labels.

Gatorade has accumulated a rich history over the past 50 years and has developed a dominant market position relative to its main competitor.  Bringing back a sports icon to commemorate a birthday is one thing and a great first step.  For their next act, Gatorade must search out new moments to relate to today’s athletes and consumers.

Gatorade's Citrus Cooler returns to the market in March 2015.
Gatorade’s Citrus Cooler returns to the market in March 2015.

Diet Coke Reverts to “Just for the taste of it!”

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Diet Coke has changed their slogan – again.  After rolling out “You’re On. Diet Coke.” recently and receiving a lot of criticism, they have changed it back to “Just for the taste of it!”  It appears that the weight of the media backlash was too heavy to bear.  Diet Coke’s marketing executives acted once the slogan attracted continued negative publicity, necessitating a change and dissociation from this negativity.  Click the link to see new commercial below, where there is no visible reference to a Diet Coke slogan – only a verbal reference.

Going back to the “Just for the taste of it!” slogan is an interesting choice, seeing that they have returned to this slogan three other times.  This slogan launched alongside Diet Coke’s introduction in 1982, and was subsequently resurrected in 1986, 1995, 2006, and now 2014.  Seems like other Diet Coke slogans just don’t have staying power like the original.  The “Just for the taste of it!” turns the attention back to taste and calories.  No focus on drugs – cocaine or aspartame.

In a time when all brands try desperately to manage their image – especially across social media – returning to the basics is necessary.  Even as Diet Coke has worked hard to establish a strong image as a lifestyle beverage with slogans like “Stay Extraordinary” or “You’re On”, solidifying its foundation remains critical.  Beyond all the dreams and aspirations, it must continue to deliver on the “brand promise” of a great-tasting sugar-free soda.  With this latest debacle, here’s hoping that Diet Coke has indeed learned its lesson.  As soda became linked with obesity and aspartame became linked with adverse health effects, some of Diet Coke’s campaigns veered off course to defend against these claims.  Other Diet Coke campaigns focused on establishing a strong image outside of its product attributes.  Both these types of campaigns made the brand less tangible and may have led people to forget what Diet Coke truly stood for.  And it certainly opened the door for criticism by marketing bloggers like myself.  A re-dedication to its core is essential in reviving Diet Coke.

While no publicity is bad publicity, the staying power of this bad publicity mattered more.  A couple years of advertising the new-old slogan of “Just for the taste of it!” should help re-establish Diet Coke’s image of a great-tasting sugar-free drink.  Who knows, it could be the right time to expand as a lifestyle beverage  at that time.  Diet Coke just needs to find the right balance of their image of being a great-tasting drink and being a lifestyle drink.

Spiderman Lives Young with evian

evian's partnership with The Amazing Spiderman in their latest installment for the Live Young campaign.  Courtesy of
evian’s partnership with The Amazing Spiderman in their latest installment for the Live Young campaign. Courtesy of

It seems that evian’s focus is to build its brand through partnerships, one way or another.  Earlier this year BevWire detailed that evian and Coke were separating, and the premium water company will instead be leveraging the distribution network of The Danone Group and Red Bull (article here).  Aside from distribution partnerships, evian has recently collaborated with The Amazing Spiderman movie series to release another installment of its Live Young videos.  It’s certainly valuable to leverage on the film’s equity, as long as it’s tied-in with the beverage brand’s objectives.  So does this collaborative commercial help evian deliver against those objectives?

AdWeek may not think so.  AdWeek’s article appears to be deadpanning the premium water brand’s link with Spiderman.  The online publication communicates that there is no explanation of how evian and Spiderman are linked, and the water brand itself is not visible except for the Live Young tagline.  The baby Spiderman’s face is also not visible like previous iterations where the baby’s face is shown (article link here).

BevWire sees this commercial differently, and thinks that evian’s key objectives have been achieved.  If the goals are identical with evian’s 2011 objectives outlined by Barak Orenstein, evian’s Senior Brand Manager at the time, then this advertisement should be a continued translation on the brand’s success.  From the Marketing Magazine, Orenstein describes the 2011 campaign objective’s is “to drive top-of-mind awareness and consumption of Evian” (article link here).

The video is consistent across key evian assets from prior videos, which helps to reinforce the top-of-mind awareness.  Throughout the commercial, the evian themes of dancing, music, and mirror reflections of the main characters are apparent.  Unlike previous videos where the baby’s face is shown to forge a stronger connection with the real-life character, a baby-faced Spiderman is not necessary given Spiderman’s already high public recognition.  The miniature Spiderman suit is already enough to deliver this connection and help with raising the water brand’s profile.  Leveraging on the film’s impending release and their other commercials to build the movie’s internet, evian certainly increases its top-of-mind awareness with these coinciding Spiderman Live Young commercials.

While awareness is a key brand-building level, the core objective that any business cares about are sales and consumption.  Depending on the partnership structure, evian may be executing consumer promotions to drive their premium water sales within the grocery shopping channels.  Beyond the consumption objective, evian may also have an opportunity to increase their total product availability.  This commercial will likely play in movie theaters to remind movie goers to purchase evian water at the concession stands.  If evian is not readily available within the theater concession stands, this partnership will give them leverage to gain space for at least the movie’s duration on the silver screen.

Certainly a great partnership between a consumer product and an entertainment franchise.  Should this collaborative venture prove successful, will evian be partnering with other movie releases?

Coca-Cola Life: Open Your Good Nature

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

Has anyone heard of the new Coca-Cola Life soda beverage?  At first glace, it appears that Coca-Cola may have played with their packaging to make their labels Green and added the word “Life” to it.  However, Coca-Cola Life really is a new Coke product.  Released in Argentina and Chile, this version of Coca-Cola is sweetened with both stevia and sugar, and contains 60% less sugar relative to a regular Coca-Cola.  BevWire has come across the following Coca-Cola Life TV commercial, see below.

It’s certainly an interesting commercial that has won over social media and critics alike, painting a simple yet powerful imagery on becoming a parent.  AdWeek’s review of the commercial calls it “brilliant” in showcasing the agony and ecstasy of  parenthood (article link here).  The tagline at the end of the clip is “Destapa Tu Naturaleza”, which translates to “Open Your Good Nature”.  So what about this commercial makes it resonate with consumers?

The commercial’s message is simple and easy to understand.  Using parenthood as an example, Coca-Cola Life shows how parents “open” their good-nature toward their kids.  The advertisement shows the evolution of the newly-wed couple’s house, from neat and tidy to messy and chaotic with children’s toys strewn everywhere.  It also shows how the parents reminisce on jogs in the park, but now bring diapers and the baby carrier to the park.  At the end, both mother and father were elated to add another child to the family despite the tribulations they have just gone through.  Keeping in line with their “Open Your Good Nature” tagline, it becomes evident that parents truly love their children even after all the frustrations and sacrifices.  Within 60 seconds, Coca-Cola Life has showed us the life of an adult that any parent can testify as accurate.

Did this commercial achieve its objective?  It appears that their objective is to establish a relationship with the consumer showing that Coca-Cola Life understands you and the sacrifices you make.  That being said, this commercial is on point.  Coca-Coca Life is not trying to sell you on the beverage alone – that type of advertising does not necessarily lead to long term gains.  They are trying to appeal to the viewer’s emotional side that since they understand your life, they understand what type of soda would be best for you.  A soda beverage that contains less calories and is healthier (relative to the other Coca-Cola products).

Aside from the marketing aspects, will this soda face the same problems that other mid-calorie sodas faced with the bitter aftertaste?  So far Coca-Cola Life is only available within Argentina and Chile with rumors of European launches to come some time in 2014.  If you come across (or have already came across) this beverage, please let me know how it tastes!

Red Bull’s Story of Thanksgiving

Red Bull’s “The Story of Thanksgiving”. Courtesy of

Has you seen any Red Bull’s “Gives You Wings” commercials?  Of course you have, they have been running these cartoon-like commercials over the last few years.  Their latest take “The Story of Thanksgiving” puts a little humor on the how turkey became the holiday’s traditional meal.  A very simple and humor-filled ad, yet it gets the message across beautifully.  Here’s the ad below:

Similar to hearing the five-note melody define Coca-Cola, or seeing the golden arches define McDonald’s, most people are aware that this is a Red Bull commercial once they see the white background and cartoon-like figures.  We recognize who the advertiser is, and what product is being marketed.  Beyond recognition, the communication and message is simple.  Using humor, Red Bull is showing us how the turkey became the traditional Thanksgiving meal because it could not fly away like the pig, cow, or sheep.  Of course, this is ignoring the historical accuracy on timing and geographical references.

A smart way for the energy drink beverage manufacturer to insert itself into holiday conversations.  This commercial serves multiple purposes.  For one, it brings Red Bull’s “Gives You Wings” to life in a comical manner.  The advertisement clearly shows that without Red Bull and “wings”, the turkey could not escape disaster, bringing us all the enjoyment that we have enjoyed for so many years.  On a more intrinsic level, it reminds consumers to drink Red Bull to stay alert this holiday season.

Red Bull’s “Story of Thanksgiving”. Courtesy of

Very simple message (drink Red Bull this Thanksgiving) that also served a dual purpose to deliver humor.  While this commercial was targeted toward the American market, it could just as well have ran during the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday in October.  However, the likelihood of Red Bull centralizing their marketing communication for both Canada and the U.S. is fairly low, thus this ad only catered to the American consumers.

Does this help reinforce the Red Bull image of being your energy drink of choice this holiday season?

MiO Sport: Fit For Any Occasion

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The office worker is now a basketball celebrity.  Courtesy of

MiO Sport is Kraft’s latest innovation in their liquid enhancers Canadian product line (MiO Fit is what is introduced in the U.S).  While the product has been available since their February 2013 Super Bowl ad, they had not implemented any video promotions in Canada.  Until now.  Re-positioning the product as “MiO Sport”, they have released two commercials to talk about MiO Sport in the Canadian marketplace.

Here’s the MiO Sport commercial “Swish” from early May 2013:

It doesn’t take long for the viewer to guess what is being advertised in these commercials.  Notice that neither of these commercials mentioned anything about it “changing everything?”  It is because they have already educated the consumer on what MiO is and how to use it; the video itself implies that MiO Sport changes everything.  The next step is to show different situations to use MiO Sport.

With regard to the Swish commercial, the commercial follows the same structure as their previous MiO ad spot.  The original video was based in an office setting and featured the same office guy.  Every time the scene cuts from one person talking to another person, something changes.  This commercial’s ultimate message is very similar to the original MiO video: squirting MiO Sport into your water changes everything.  And then you see all the crazy situations of how this regular office worker (definitely not athletic) transforms into an outrageously successful basketball player.  It’s so over-the-top that its believable.  MiO Sport is not advertising that squirting MiO turns you into a successful athlete, rather it is making fun of it.  And that keeps with the brand’s personality.

And here’s their latest commercial “Eye of the Squirter” from July 2013:

Their second commercial “Eye of the Squirter” is different from their previous commercials.  While the main character is still the same person in the previous two ad spots, they are no longer set in the same environment that changes multiple times.  This time it is sporting activities in various environments, such as the track, the swimming pool, and the hockey locker room.   Notice that these sports also have a stronger Canadian tone to them?  While MiO itself wasn’t introduced outright from the beginning, it becomes obvious what is being advertised given the visual cues.  The advertisement’s goal is to show you that MiO Sport is a fitting hydration choice for any activities – even if it is power walking on the track.

Do either of these commercials spur you to hydrate yourself with MiO Sport?  After all, it does appear that MiO Sport is targeting a different consumer segment.  While Powerade and Gatorade are after the serious athlete, MiO Sport is only targeting the casual athlete and the average-fit consumer.  There are more people that match this consumer group than that of the serious athlete.  My guess is that the MiO Sport does have a strong appeal in the Canadian marketplace, and we should see sales taking off soon enough – if it hasn’t already.

It’s also an interesting note that these commercials are not strictly made for TV, rather it is made for YouTube and a version of it is released for TV (a topic I will highlight in a separate post).  If you don’t believe me, feel free to click into all the separate “hidden” commercials that they talk about.

Gatorade One More – Conscious Fitness

Gatorade recently kicked off new commercials to showcase a slight modification of their positioning.  Has anyone seen the Gatorade “One More” commercials?  The first one was to introduce Gatorade Frost, while the second one built on the foundation of what the words “One More” means.  While older commercials portrayed Gatorade as a valued aspect of a continuously winning athlete’s training regime (the Lightning Bolt commercial below), the “One More” series focuses more on delivering a message that personal training and perseverance is what leads to success.  Given that the sports drink’s tagline is “Win from Within”, which one of these two commercial series fit better with Gatorade’s message and communication?

Both commercials play a role in Gatorade’s “Win from Within” top-level messaging.  However, the order itself seems reversed, or even disjointed.  What may work better would be the One More series was launched first, or have the commercial extended to incorporate scenes from the “Lightning Bolt”.  As a summary, the “Lightning Bolt” commercial displays the development and purpose behind the beverage and culminates with the athlete’s penultimate.  The focus on this appears to be on how drinking Gatorade can ultimately lead to athletic success.  But how realistic is it for Gatorade alone to get you there?  Drinking Gatorade will not make you perform any better – unless you are disciplined with your training.  Which is the final scene about an athlete training in the bleachers.

Enter the “One More” series of Gatorade commercials.  These recent commercials illustrate a more realistic interpretation of the how Gatorade – or any hydrating beverage for that matter – can lead to athletic success.  The focus is on the training and pushing yourself to the limit.  And when you reach your limit, you do “One More”.  Similar to Al Pacino’s “Game of Inches” speech in the film Any Given Sunday, the commercial inspires to leave an image of rewards translated from your collective efforts.  That said, the final scenes in the commercial didn’t really showcase success in its most typical form like championships, champagne showers, and celebrations.

Ultimately, it may be best served to combine the two commercials into a single commercial spot.

How about leading off with the concept of Gatorade, followed by cuts to modern day training with the athlete pushing themselves to the limit, and ending with a championship celebration?

Of course, the development of the “One More” series of commercials may not have happened until Gatorade got a read on their “Lightning Bolt” commercial.  The development of “One More” may have been a response to what consumers and viewers thought of the previous series.  What are your thoughts: does the One More commercial inspires you to train harder?  And do you think that drinking Gatorade during your training regimen will lead you to glory one day?

Dr Pepper Ten Goes Classic with “Manliest Man”

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Courtesy of

It could just be me not having as much time to watch TV and commercials, but there has been much less headlines about Dr Pepper Ten recently, as Coke and Pepsi continue to advertise and command viewer’s attention.  That said, it made me curious to find out what the latest Dr Pepper Ten was, and whether they continued their trend of “Still Not For Women” theme.  From their latest commercial below, you’ll see that they’ve decided to bring back memories of the 1980s, by providing visual references to beer and cigarette commercials from that era.  Examples are not limited to the following: eating tree bark, “fishing” for Dr Pepper Ten, and canoeing with a bear.  After watching the full commercial below, we’ll take a few moments to understand the communication and also step back to understand why Dr Pepper Ten has not been dominating the air waves as much.

The commercial’s classic “faded” feel and over-the-top theatrics make the whole episode light-hearted and certainly catches your attention  Gone are the “It’s Not For Women” taglines and average Joe rugged male actors, replaced with another representation of the manliest man.  At the root of it all is the message that the soft drink has ten calories and it’s OK for men to drink a low calorie beverage.  So while the commercials vary from time to time, the messaging remains intact.  Dr Pepper Ten has just embraced more comedy and toned down the female alienation aspects.

Moving on to the less obvious question of why there has been less Dr Pepper Ten commercials of late, it’s best we take a quick look at their latest earnings release.  From the Nasdaq blogger’s opinion, overall Dr Pepper business appears to be trending down, while Dr Pepper Ten doesn’t appear to be performing extremely well either.  From this perspective, because the core and extended offerings are declining, logic would apply that reversing these declines would be centered on the core offering – Dr Pepper.  The Dr Pepper youtube channel would seem to indicate as much, since most of the recent uploads center around their “/1” campaign.

While performance declines are not limited to only the carbonated segment, fixing their core offering in this segment is paramount.  Overall beverage consumption trends are shifting toward healthier options, so holding on to their piece of the shrinking carbonated soda pie is important.  Therefore, it makes sense to focus Dr Pepper’s efforts and dollars on the main product, than on the extension offerings.

evian Continues Live Young Campaign with Baby & Me

Image sourced from

In a continuation of their Live Young global campaign debuting in 2009 with Roller  Babies and extended in 2011 with Baby Inside, evian has released the 2013 extension of the campaign: Baby & Me.  Maintaining their focus on babies and aligning that with natural purity, evian carries through their message of living young.  As adults look into mirrors and see a reflection of themselves in baby form – “babyfied” according to evian – they break out in dance as they connect with their inner youth.  See their commercial below:

Since 2009, there has been more digital involvment and evian has embraced that with this year’s campaign.  Aside from the global launch of this video in 14 countries, evian’s facebook page is launching a “Baby & Me” app that uses facial recognition software to babyfy the user.  The user can then share the babyfied version of themselves with their friends and social network.

With the incremental digital effort, there will likely be stronger engagement than the 2009 and 2011 campaigns.  Can’t wait to see the app and try it out.  BevWire readers can see a babyfied version of me here, and try it out for yourself.

Gatorade Lightning Bolt: Part of Every Athlete’s Success

I’m hoping by now that almost all consumers have seen this ad by Gatorade titled “Lightning Bolt”.  The ad starts off by depicting tired athletes during a football game and the school’s science professors oncocting a beverage that will refresh and energize the players.  The rest of the commercial showcases athletes training, performing, and celebrating key moments with quick clips of Gatorade logos and cups.  The ending is what we are all accustomed to with the “With From Within” tagline.  Does this advertisement’s message come through clearly?  Does it inspire action from the viewers, leading to incremental sales for Gatorade?

The former about message communication is simple and clear.  Gatorade is training and celebrating with you, as you reach for the height of your sport.   The hydration beverage shows successful athletes during different cycles of their sports life to communicate the fact that winning doesn’t just happen over night.  This requires regimented training and preparation first.  Even as an athlete competes and finally reaches the pinnacle of their respective sports, Gatorade is a partner with them at these different touchpoints.  So the message remains pretty clear that if you want to win, you need Gatorade to help you train.  And when you reach the end goal, Gatorade is there to celebrate with you.

The Gatorade beverage in its original state, glass bottle with “Gatorade” written on tape. Image sourced from

The latter question is a little more challenging to answer.  Whether sales are truly incremental (or wholly generated) as a result of the commercial are very difficult to track.  However, consider the timing of when this commercial was introduced: during NCAA March Madness when Powerade released their own ad (read my analysis on that commercial here).  The point of Gatorade’s advertisement may not actually have been to stimulate sales, rather it was to protect their sales.  Since Powerade always plays up its underdog status, and there were many people watching March Madness, Gatorade needed to react and maintain their presence.  So the key measure of whether the “Lightning Bolt” media spot actually reached measured success may actually been seeing that sales levels held constant to prior year or prior months, rather that a decline in sales due to Powerade’s activity.

Large corporations – or business units in this case – typically conduct a high level of tracking to monitor competitive activity.  That’s just good business sense in order to preserve your own level of success.  Gatorade’s message is clear and a continuation of what they have advertised in the past few years.  Gatorade will help you prepare and later celebrate the victory.  It certainly will be interesting to answer the question of whether sales activity shifted in any direction as a result of this ad, but only those within the two beverage units will truly know the answer to that.