February 6, 2010: PepsiCo's Gatorade still owns a Goliath's share of the sports drink category at more than 80%. But Gatorade's share used to be over 90%. Last year, it repositioned itself as 'G," but still saw sales decline and even discontinued its under-performing Tiger Focus along with some other lines, not because of Tiger Woods' personal problems but "to make room for our planned series of innovative products in 2010." Industry analysts said that Gatorade sales were down 14% through the first three-quarters of 2009 and that TIger Focus was down almost 35% versus the previous year.
Meanwhile, the Davids of the category, which overall has taken a sales hit, have been grabbing some of Gatorade's defecting consumers in what has been a vibrant attempt to bring the giant down, including Coca-Cola's PowerAde, which has about 25% of the market, sibling Glaceau Vitaminwater, Mott's Accerade and All-Sport.
Concurrently, Gatorade has had a significant shake up in marketing, naming Jennifer Storms as svp-sports marketing last June to replace Jeff Urban, who resigned that month after 10 years with the company; and hiring Andrea Fairchild as vp-marketing last month, filling a position vacated by John Galloway in November.
For the second time in as many years, Gatorade is undergoing a complete transformation. The brand is now unveiling G Series in an attempt to "stake out new ground by delivering a broader product line to help address the sports performance needs of more athletes," according to PepsiCo. G Series is described as "a new line of sports performance products that provide the fluid, fuel, and nutrients athletes need before, during, and after a workout, practice or competition."
The official launch has come during Super Bowl XLIV week, where the brand set up a Gatorade Performance Lab and had visits from NFL players including Eli Manning, Matthew Stafford, Tony Gonzalez, D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Vincent Jackson, as well as upcoming draft selections Sam Bradford and Tim Tebow. During the game itself, consumers will see a Web spot and prime product placement, with a new logo, in territory that Gatorade continues to own — along the sidelines. Either Sean Payton, head coach of the New Orleans Saints, or Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell will get doused with a G Series product on national TV.
Afterward, marketing will continue to utilize Gatorade's extensive roster, including Usain Bolt, Serena Williams, Peyton Manning, Misty May-Treanor, Dwyane Wade, Derek Jeter, Ellery Hollingsworth and Landon Donovan. Support will include print, online and experiential activation. Lead agency is TBWA\Chiat\Day, Los Angeles.
"Our goal is to leverage our scientific resources and knowledge of athletes to redefine the sports performance nutrition landscape," Sarah Robb O'Hagan, CMO for Gatorade, said in a statement. "As a first step, we are innovating our product lineup to meet a greater range of needs for more athletes."
Each product of the G Series is designed to meet the distinct performance needs around workout or competition usage: Gatorade Prime 01 for use within 15 minutes of a workout or competition; Gatorade Perform 02/Thirst Quencher for use during physical activity; Gatorade Perform 02/G2, a low-calorie drink during exercise; and Gatorade Recover 03 to provide hydration and muscle recovery benefits after exercise.
"Every successful brand evolution delivers a one-two punch of image and innovation, and the G Series is a major step on our journey from a sports drink to a sports performance innovation company," said O'Hagan. "For too long, this category has relied on flavor extensions and it's time to reset the clock in terms of functionality, and that's what we're doing in 2010."
The TV spot, "The Journey," is played out to 2010 NFL playoff scenes of players in action, on the sidelines and in the locker room, interspersed with shots of Gatorade products being used. In voiceover, rap musician/actor Common explains, "Twelve begin the second season. Twelve tribes converge . . . But 12 become eight . . . eight become four . . . four become two." The spot concludes with shots of both the Colts and Saints before text reads, "Only one will be remembered." The full spot runs a minute and a half but Gatorade will also break it into 15- and 30-second slots.
The G Series products are scheduled to hit retail in stages, with G2 now on shelf in its reframed Perform 02 label, Gatorade Thirst Quencher with its G Series label Gatorade Perform 02 in March and Gatorade Prime 01 and Gatorade Recover 03 in April, all at grocery, drug, convenience, mass and club stores.