The new round of Gatorade commercials are kinda cool, I guess, and I’m not the only one who thinks so, but where I disagree with undoubtedly wiser heads is this: the client needs to capture a larger market, and with these ads it is not doing it. The first is an homage to the slang praise ‘G’ and the great athletes of past and present. It’s narrated by Lil’ Wayne, so I assume it’s designed to appeal to youths. Fine, although I still don’t think it comes close to the ads of the 90s, which communicated more with simple neon sweat and the line ‘Is it in you?’ (see above). An incitement to drink some gatorade while playing sports, perhaps with a little subversive sex thrown in. Combine this with athletes pouring branded water coolers on each other at the end of every game and you have a branded ritual too.
Problems arise in their ‘quest for the G’, which seems to appeal specifically to white hipsters, or specifically, since they’re already targeting youths, kids who have seen Monty Python and might think it’s ironic to parody a parody (again, hipsters). Unfortunately, hipsters can’t drink gatorade, it brings back bad memories of gym class and high school bullies. It’s a symbol of the very image of cool that they hate; it’s the nectar of that exclusive set that can not only quantify excellence, but does so by drawing a rubrik based around physical achievement. The other funny thing about hipsters is, you can’t really get them by appealing to them directly, certainly not if you’re obviously mainstream. Their humor is derived from the ironic quips they make about your trying too hard. You want to be ‘hipster cool’? Start by alienating just about everybody else, then like Chuck Taylors, rainbow-colored Ray Ban knockoffs, and silkscreened t-shirts, they may just find you un(mainstream)-cool enough to be hipster-approved.
But that actually shrinks your market instead of growing it. So fuck the hip white kids, they don’t really play sports anyway, and start seeing the innate values of electrolyte for what they can do. Reposition the product in such a way that it has versatile appeal no matter what. Maybe gatorade still wants to associate it with glory and success and sweat and blood and all that, no problem. Jocks and die-hard fans are the only ones for whom sport is life, for the rest of us life is a sport. Convince people that gatorade is a sports drink for the latter, and you’ve gone from exclusive to inclusive.
Here’s how: Run a campaign in print, in video, online, whatever, and stick to a sports theme, but focus on how it can help the average joe. Make it a talisman for our energy, make it part of our rituals too. For example, in print we might have somebody fixing his tie with one hand, holding a gatorade in the other, wearing a suit and clearly on his way out of the apartment and into work. His wife, girlfriend, whatever, lies in bed, hand on alarm clock (with 5 am on it, digital) and a calendar on the dressing table showing that it’s Monday. Empty booze bottles all over the floor, maybe one dangling from the lady’s hand. On the bottom right screen have the gatorade timer with the ‘game time’.
Next one might focus on play, DJ dancing above the crowd with his turntable, people are watching him stadium style, but it’s clear it’s a club, the dance floor is like a basketball court. He’s got the one hand on the headphones, he’s sipping gatorade from a straw. He’s the best at what he does.
Another might be construction worker, with a hammer, in a helmet, the suspender uniform emblazoned with fake endorsement logos, he’s posed dramatically. Again, gatorade in his tool belt.
The tagline would be something like “For the urban champ” or “Whatever your game” or “Good at our game, and good for yours”. You can even bring back the sweating neon thing (just avoid yellow if you can, it reminds me of urine, or maybe you could save it for the one about the porn star?–KIDDING!).
Anyway, gatorade is a damned good hangover cure and in some cases a better substitute/cure for caffeine, why not capitalize on this? If you really want the broader youth, they’ll know what you’re talking about when they see it.