Gatorade -- which began its 50th anniversary year last Christmas with an ad that looked backward -- is ending the campaign with a new ad looking forward. And the PepsiCo-owned brand is fueling the spot with plenty of modern sports star power.
Lionel Messi, Usain Bolt, Abby Wambach, Dwyane Wade and Eli Manning are among the athletes appearing in the ad, which is by TBWA Los Angeles and debuts Tuesday. ESPN personality Skip Bayless even makes a cameo. The spot, called "Moving the Game Forward," includes a line describing Gatorade as a "sports fuel company." That moniker is meant to move Gatorade beyond its historical hydration positioning, reflecting its "energy" and "recovery" products like chews and protein bars.
The ad is "closing the chapter on our first 50 years and opening up the chapter of our next 50," said Kenny Mitchell, Gatorade's senior director of consumer engagement. "We really want to showcase and tell the story that athletes continue to evolve and push past their limits and move the game forward and Gatorade is evolving with them."
The first ad in the campaign made a reference to Gatorade's founding in 1965 at the University of Florida. Researchers created the drink as a way to help university athletes replenish electrolytes and carbohydrates. The spot counted to 50, linking each number to a sports moment that had at least some link to Gatorade.
The new ad hints at one of Gatorade's future priorities, which is to create more customized drink formulas tailored to a specific athlete's needs. Toward the end of the ad, a football player is seen dumping a red formula into a Gatorade squeeze-bottle that is encapsulated in a pod-like container. The apparatus includes flashing lights.
"What you will see coming from us moving forward is a little bit more on the customization and personalization front to help address athlete needs," Mr. Mitchell said. "We are in the lab fine-tuning now and we will have more to share when the time is right."