Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pulling Gatorade out of a slump

PepsiCo's Gatorade brand has seen its share of the sports drink category fall to 75% from nearly 80% one year ago. This comes after a major brand revamp and an estimated $150 million ad push. What would you do to reverse Gatorade's declining fortunes, if it were your brand? Post your comments below and let us know.


  1. Gatorade is not Nike. The lightening bolt doesn't have the immediate recognition that the Nike swoosh does and is not an aspirational brand in the same sense. It's gotten way too convoluted. Simplify and bring back the Gatorade name.

  2. Bill McKenney7/27/2009

    I agree with Nick above. When I buy a sports drink, I look specifically for the Gatorade name (one of the few products I am brand loyal to). I was at a cycling store on Saturday and wasn't sure which product in the cooler was real Gatorade or a line extension that was a different formula. I don't want a caffeine loaded energy drink -- is G an energy drink? I don't know and if I can't tell which is basic Gatorade -- I skip the purchase - which is what I did

  3. The little "G" problem:

    I think Gatorade's 'sweaty bolt' has great recognition, the problem (as seen when they first launched the new design) was no one knew who "G" was. I distinctly remember their first TV ads during the college bowl games last year that panned across 10 or 20 people and ended with the letter "G" nothing else. No one knew what the heck the ads we're for. The "G" was coupled with Gatorade's 'sweaty bolt' and people started to make the connection.

    The bigger "portfolio" problem:

    Gatorade now has sooo many variations and variations of their variations that's its getting harder to remember what sports drink does what, or why I should be drinking it. I think they need a smaller brand portfolio of heavy hitters. Where did Gatorade come from again, younger drinkers don't know the story.

  4. Andrea7/29/2009

    They need to play up G2. That stuff is yummy! Not only that, but I have had two cashiers comment to me, "Isn't there a lot of sugar in that stuff?" This was in the supermarket! They need to appeal to the health-concious world we are all pretending we live in.

  5. UPDATE: Gatorade is launching new TV spots this summer promoting its limited-edition bottle featuring Michael Jordan. Is bringing back Michael Jordan (he pitched for Gatorade from 1991-2003) a smart retro move for the brand? Or a tired attempt to resurrect old ideas? What do you think?

  6. Matthew Healey7/30/2009

    I haven't had a problem recognizing the new identity as Gatorade, although I did wonder whether some of the new packaging represents a new product extension, or just flavors of the traditional line.

    One thing we need to question is whether there is a real connection between the brand makeover and the decline in sales. A correlation is not automatically a cause-and-effect. It is possible that due to other factors (e.g. the bad economy) sales might have declined even more without the redesign.

    That said, I think that while the new look definitely keeps enough of the old brand equity (bottle style, colors, lightning bolt) to make a connection, I'm not sure whether theoverall impression created by the new look isn't allowing the brand appeal to drift out of its most loyal segment. Perhaps it has become too "sophisticated" for its traditional fans - that look of sophistication (broken words, missing name) being associated in some consumers' minds with uppity products that charge too much.

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