February 16, 2010: A new Gatorade spot for G Series this week unveiled the brand's newest spokesmen, Dwight Howard, who joins Kevin Durant, Dwyane Wade and Kevin Garnett as the only four active NBA players with Gatorade. Michael Jordan is also an endorser on a roster that includes about 25 athletes.
Howard joins the PepsiCo brand from rival Coca-Cola's Glaceau Vitaminwater, with which he aligned in late 2007. The switch apparently has caught Vitaminwater off guard, which still has him on its Web site among its line-up of sports and celebrity endorsers, along with his own profile Web page. And while it may have been a coincidence, Howard did not participate this year for the first time in three years in the Slam Dunk event during NBA All-Star Weekend, which is sponsored by sibling Coke's Sprite brand.
Howard's Gatorade alliance actually dates back to 2004 when he was named the Gatorade National High School Boys Basketball Player of the Year while at Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy in Atlanta. Gatorade is currently rolling out its G Series to combat sales and market share that have slipped over the past year.
The first TV spot with the Orlando Magic center shows him and his fellow NBA endorsers in a quick-cut, energetic series of clips on and off the court. Gatorade also has Howard prominently featured on its Web site and in a Webisode called "Driven," which is part of a "Road to the Locker Room G Series." Lead agency is TBWA\Chiat\Day, Los Angeles.
Howard is expected to get a more prominent role in marketing to follow. "I’m a part of Gatorade’s team now!!! Ya boy is going to be a spokesman for G-2 and I couldn’t be more excited about it," Howard recently wrote on his blog. "Gatorade had a camera crew at our practice . . . and they were filming a couple of commercials. I had a lot of fun with it . . . So ya’ll will have to be watching for me in those new Gatorade commercials."
Howard, who also goes by the nickname "Superman," has been on a marketing roll. He recently signed a deal to endorse Ed Hardy clothing, is in a new ESPN spot for "This is SportsCenter" in which he plays Clark Kent to Hannah Storm's Lois Lane (pictured) and has current TV spots for T-Mobile in which he stars with Charles Barkley and McDonald's alongside LeBron James and Larry Bird.
Analysts put his annual endorsement earnings at about $13 million. Howard's other endorsement deals include adidas, EA Sports and AirTran. He is represented by Goodwin Sports Management, Seattle.
Howard also has been named to the USA Basketball 2010-12 Men’s National Team. Players from the 27-man roster, which is subject to change, will be selected to participate in the FIBA World Championship Aug. 28-Sept. 12 in Turkey and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
In addition to Howard, the roster includes eight other members of the 2008 squad that won a gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing: Carmelo Anthony, Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Deron Williams. The roster also currently includes LaMarcus Aldridge, Chauncey Billups, Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon, Danny Granger, Andre Iguodala, Al Jefferson, David Lee, Brook Lopez, Kevin Love, O.J. Mayo, Lamar Odom, Kendrick Perkins, Derrick Rose, Amar’e Stoudemire, Gerald Wallace and Russell Westbrook.