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.

Vegetable Beverages Hitting Mainstream

Gatorade Lime CucumberWould you drink a cucumber lime-flavored Gatorade?  How about blueberry mint-flavored water?  An article on Beverage Industry on emerging beverage trends claim that vegetable-flavored beverages are increasingly popular because of their “healthy halo” (article link here).  With everyone focusing on healthier options, it makes sense that vegetable flavors reach mainstream status and consumers seek to take in more vegetables.  After all, berry and other fruit-flavored beverages can only deliver so much momentum.  That said, the article describes that consuming a vegetable-only flavor is still in uncommon and many beverage options are a combination of both vegetables and fruits.  How will this particular flavor trend impact beverage makers?  Will these drinks ever reach a level of popularity to take down mainstream colas, juices, or waters?

Beverage manufacturers constantly monitor flavor trends and Pepsi has locked into this trend since 2011, when they launched a Cucumber Lime flavor under the Gatorade franchise.  Pepsi Japan’s limited-time releases of Pepsi Shiso and Pepsi Ice Cucumber also proves this point.  Since most (if not all) beverage organizations monitor consumption trends, it would not be surprising to see manufacturers build momentum and launch more vegetable-infused variants over the next few years.  It just needs to make its way into the North American market.  And this is beginning to catch on more in the U.S.; research firm Mintel tracked over 100 U.S. beverage innovations with vegetable or vegetable-fruit flavors launching in the past year, representing a 20% increase from 2013.  It still stands to be seen whether these vegetable-flavors will launch under the most popular and mainstream beverage lines like Gatorade, Coke, and Pepsi or launch under emerging beverage brands.  No matter the case, any approved product launch puts sales pressure on other items to perform or risk losing the shelf space.  This flavor trend may not have been successful replacing other products’ sales to justify shelf space though it looks that will soon change.

On the topic of reaching critical mass to take down mainstream product categories, it doesn’t look promising.  This isn’t to say that vegetable-flavored beverages will not reach mainstream status themselves, just that it will not overtake other mainstream categories.  For one, this is a flavor trend that integrates the product under a specific beverage segment; it is not a standalone beverage category in itself.  Consider these vegetable-flavored products to pattern after  Campbell’s V8 juices or Bolthouse Farm smoothies, where they represent a growing portion of a drink category (juices and smoothies, respectively) but are not large enough to overtake juices as a whole or smoothies as a whole.  Regardless, these healthier options will compete aggressively for retail shelf space alongside other beverage options.

Image courtesy of foodbusinessnews.net
Image courtesy of foodbusinessnews.net

The Beverage Industry article also describes other beverage flavor trends, include a growing preference toward sweet and spicy combinations.  Consumers increasingly look for flavors that will satisfy multi-sensory experiences.  Some examples include chocolate gojuchang tea (gochujang is a Korean spicy sauce),  spicy ginger mango juice, and mango jalapeno water.  So be on the lookout, soon enough you’ll see more cross-flavored beverages on store shelves.  Be in sweet and spicy or vegetable-fruit flavored, it will sound exotic but your taste buds and your body will thank you for choosing that over another drink.

Coca-Cola Expands “Official” Olympic Drink Portfolio

Courtesy of eprize.com

It’s another year for the Olympic games, this time in Sochi.  For Coca-Cola, every Olympic year is a boon based on the event partnership agreement where they hold the distinction of official Olympic non-alcoholic beverage partner.  As one of the Olympics’ global partners, the beverage giant pays about $100M to monopolize non-alcoholic beverage serving rights in all Olympic venues (other global partners hold exclusivity in their respective industries).  In recent years, the definition of “non-alcoholic beverage” has expanded to include more than just carbonated soft drinks.  Coca-Cola has gained exclusivity to serve sports drinks (Powerade), juices (Minute Maid), and waters (Dasani, vitaminwater) over the past few Olympics games.  The “Olympic Wolrdwide Partner” logo has also started appearing on Coca-Cola’s ZICO coconut water brand lately.  So given the substantial cost, how beneficial is it for Coca-Cola to be a worldwide Olympic partner?  And with the expanded definition of “non-alcoholic beverage”, which product categories are next to gain Official Olympic product status?

Despite a cost of $100M each active Olympic year, Coca-Cola has renewed their Olympic partnership until 2020.  It would appear that this agreement delivers substantive returns.  For one, Coca-Cola has blocked out their global competitor in all product categories that the conglomerate participates in.  No Pepsi-branded soft drinks, Aquafina, Gatorade, or Tropicana can be served within all Olympic-event venues.  Brand visibility is another partnership benefit.  Every game or after-party event that becomes broadcasted will feature a Coca-Cola logo or Coca-Cola beverage product.  Live viewers and spectators may only celebrate with Coca-Cola branded products and nothing else.  Positive associations is another partnership benefit.  Spectators seeing their athletes win also see them hydrating themselves with Coca-Cola products.  These same spectators will associate hard work, performance, and winning all being supported by Coca-Cola.  From a qualitative perspective, these are invaluable benefits that Coca-Cola has been able to enjoy – reduced competition, brand visibility, and positive associations.

Courtesy of designyoutrust.com

With changing taste preferences among spectators and athletes alike, incorporating other product categories as “Official Drinks” certainly makes sense.  Some people will choose carbonated soft drinks, some will want flavored water, and still some people prefer juices.  With coconut water emerging as a beverage category, expansion to include this as an Olympic-approved beverage makes sense.  However, increased exposure of Olympic branding potentially cheapens the Olympic brand with broader availability on all products – not just beverages.  Furthermore, not all products will be suitable to display the Olympic logo on its packaging.  For example, energy drinks may be one category that could be denied Official Olympic product status given possible negative associations despite the category growth.  Within Coca-Cola beverage portfolio, it’s likely that liquid enhancers (Dasani Drops, Powerade Drops) and teas (Honest Tea, Fuze) could gain approval should they apply for it.  Both these categories are enjoying growth and have fewer negative associations portrayed by the media.

Coca-Cola has been one of many key sponsors that has supported the Olympic games through the years, and it appears that both parties are satisfied with the results.  2020 is still three more Olympic games away, but given the goodwill both parties have been generated, it’s very possible that this relationship goes well beyond 2020.

MiO Sport: Fit For Any Occasion

Courtesy of funnycommercialsworld.com
The office worker is now a basketball celebrity.  Courtesy of funnycommercialsworld.com

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?

Liquid Enhancer Segment Legitimized With Powerade Launch

Sourced from www.coca-colacompany.com
Sourced from http://www.coca-colacompany.com

Funny how just a few years ago, no one has ever heard of liquid flavor enhancers but now many people have heard about and possibly tried MiO.  This is due in no small part to Kraft, which created the product segment and put a lot of marketing support behind their MiO to introduce and educate consumers on how to use this product.  And as Dasani introduced their own liquid enhancer to capitalize on the market trend, Kraft innovated to stay ahead of its competition.  These innovations include employing a dual brand strategy by launching Crystal Light Liquid, as well as extending MiO’s platform by branching out to energy and sports drinks.  With recent news about Powerade coming out with a liquid enhancer, this segment appears to provide legitimate profitable returns for manufacturers.  However, is the segment itself big enough for so many different branded offerings?  Will this spur Pepsi to participate in some shape or form?  Possibly with a Gatorade drop to maintain their market share in sports drinks?

Courtesy of www.makeitmio.com
Courtesy of http://www.makeitmio.com

Liquid enhancers have enormous growth potential and despite its infancy, have extended across sports drinks and energy drinks.  This has certainly broadened its consumer appeal and increased the segment’s awareness and adoption rates.  However, the segment still appears to be crowded with four branded players: MiO, Crystal Light, Dasani, and now Powerade.  And it only looks that way because the segment itself is still small.  For all the excitement around MiO, it is still only a $200-$300 million brand.  Combined with Crystal Light, Dasani, Powerade, and even private-label offerings, the segment itself is not predicted to be over $500 million.  But with more advertising support behind each of these beverage properties as well as higher levels of consumer adoption, the segment will grow to be large enough to house these four liquid enhancer brands.  MiO will certainly be rewarded for being the first mover.  Consider this the initial stage of energy shots, when 5-Hr Energy was the only one in the segment and it took some time to gain sales.  As more companies introduced their own energy shots, the segment gained popularity and market size.  Through all this, 5-Hr Energy became the de facto leader in energy shots and rebuffed Red Bull, Rockstar, and Monster.  5-Hr Energy capitalized on the news that other energy drink manufacturers brought to the segment and benefitted from being the most recognized name among the consideration set.  So while it currently appears that liquid enhancers is congested, the potential size of the segment mirrors energy shots, and may even outpace it given less consumer backlash.

With great potential, comes great competition.  We’ve seen Coca-Cola wait for Kraft to prove that this is a viable segment, and then furiously pursue them with their own offerings.  Why has Pepsi not done anything yet?  A Gatorade Drop would certainly gain lots of attention among athletes, not to mention give them another extension to complement their Gatorade Chew.  Pepsi could also come out with a tea offering to start off in a segment where there are no current liquid enhancers (though there are rumors that AriZona is coming out with one soon.)  Given that liquid enhancers can be sold warm and are so compact, they can be stocked on shelves and also at the cash register as consumers complete their purchases.  Pepsi would be missing out on a large opportunity if their only presence were in coolers or displays – far away from the point of purchase.  My guess is that they are likely in the works to launch their own enhancer soon, but only time will tell.

Liquid enhancers are here to stay and has proven to be rich opportunity for the participants.  As the segment gets bigger, it will spell of a missed opportunity for Pepsi if they remain on the sidelines.

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 fastocreate.com

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.

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.

Coke Zero Targets Men For 2013 March Madness

Have you seen the latest Coke Zero commercial?  If not, click on the link below, also found from Advertising Age’s article detailing Coke Zero’s new advertising agency, Droga5.

Unlike last year’s Powerade commercial, this year’s March Madness commercial by Coca-Cola features Coke Zero.  The question is why focus on a soda rather than the sports drink?

Inherently, the message and audience is geared toward a completely different type of beverage consumer.  The Powerade commercial was a signal to Gatorade that Powerade realizes that they are the underdogs in the sports drink segment, and they must work harder in order to compete with the sports drink giant.  It was targeted toward the athlete.  This year’s March Madness commercial broadens the reach by focusing on men, not just athletes in particular.

An office drinks a Coke Zero to confirm it's not his fault he's working on the March Madness brackets during work time.  From creativity-online.com.
An office worker drinks a Coke Zero to confirm it’s not his fault he’s working on the March Madness brackets during work time. From creativity-online.com.

Coke Zero wants to identify with the spectators, not just the athletes.  The message is that even the casual sports fan can enjoy everything and participate in March Madness by drinking Coke Zero and picking the winners.  The change in Coke Zero’s focus is understandable, given that CSDs (carbonated soft drinks) are a larger segment than sports drinks and offers greater sales potential.  Also, why would you fight from the position of an underdog (Powerade) when you can  fight from a position of strength, and build on your leadership (Coke Zero leads zero-calorie CSD market)?

Keeping in line with Coca-Cola’s theme on focusing on the intangibles, there is no mention of calories.  Notice how Coca-Cola’s tagline is “Open Happiness” and Diet Coke’s tagline is “Stay Extraordinary”?  There is no focus on tangible attributes, and tries to position the beverage as a lifestyle choice.  For Coke Zero, men do not want to be reminded that they can “Enjoy Everything” by consuming a beverage without any calories.  The less the messaging focuses on calories (and more on sports or happiness), the better it should perform.

All in all, the winning potential is great, and offers them the ability to leverage themselves from a position of strength.  Smart move to switch the focal point from athlete to casual fan and spectator.

Kraft Launches Line Extension For MiO

Kraft MiO Fit

From its March 2011 introduction, Kraft MiO has expanded beyond the traditional sweetener of adding flavors to plain water.  They bulked up the product line-up in 2012 with MiO Energy,  characterized by two new flavors (Green Thunder and Black Cherry) containing 60mg of caffeine per serving.  At the end of 2012, Kraft MiO revealed that they will be announcing something to supplement their product line-up of liquid flavor enhancers.  Turns out that announcement was for Kraft’s MiO Fit,  a line extension with electrolytes and B vitamins, and 18 servings in each bottle.  The MiO Fit will come in two flavors: Berry Blast and Arctic Grape.

When the MiO Energy launched, it extended the product line-up into the energy drinks spectrum to compete against Red Bull, Monster Energy and the likes.  With the MiO Fit, Kraft is serving notice to that they will be going up against Gatorade and Powerade in the sports drinks beverage segment.  How will the MiO Fit do relative to its direct and indirect competition?  Will its success come at the expense of other MiO products, competitive beverages, or from consumers that do not typically drink these types of beverages?

For the MiO Fit to succeed in the sports drink segment, another beverage manufacturer will be losing, though not necessarily in the same segment.  The MiO Fit does not grow the beverage industry, rather it transfers a shopper’s purchase dollars from another segment and/or another beverage manufacturer.  Beverages as a category include soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, juices and so much more.  Therefore, people that end up buying the MiO Fit could be purchasing it instead of another sports drink, energy drink, or some other liquid refreshment.  The only beverage segment that wins will be bottled water, since the MiO Fit must be squeezed into water to take full effect.

In the short term, this certainly will lend extra attention to the sport drinks beverage segment.  There may be more discount activity or media promotions from Gatorade and Powerade to deter consumers from buying the MiO Fit.  Kraft will also be putting media support behind the MiO Fit to ensure consumers know there is a legitimate third sports drink option out there on the market.  For example, Kraft has invested significant funding to feature the MiO during this year’s Superbowl (read more here).  This has all the signs that some level of price or promotional activity may occur very soon to fight for your attention and your wallet dollars.  Certainly the winners here will be the consumers that drink sports drinks.

It is also important to note that the MiO Fit gives sports drinks another location in the grocery store to connect with consumers.  In addition to being stocked in the beverage aisles like Gatorade and Powerade, the MiO may be a product that can make it to the checkout counter.  With its small size and no need to be kept cold, it can very well make it closer to the last point of purchase and gain some impulse purchase dollars.  Meanwhile, the closest Gatorade or Powerade will get is the end of the checkout line beside candy, gum, and magazines since it has a dedicated cooler space.

MiO Twitter Feed

Kraft’s deeper drive into beverages has certainly added many options to the marketplace.  Consumers that find plain water boring can now squeeze in some flavoring.  And when they find this flavoring boring, they can change it up for some MiO Energy or MiO Fit.  It’s very clear Kraft MiO is still very new to the market, and that there are many more extension opportunities.  They have not even expanded to offer their existing flavors in larger or smaller serving sizes.  And there are still other beverage segments where a MiO may change the landscape (ie tea or juices). So while Kraft introduced the MiO in 2011, there has already been extensions in 2012 and 2013.  Let’s keep an eye on what they may do during the year, and what they plan on launching come 2014.