Gatorade line aims for kids

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Just in time for back-to-school, PepsiCo's Quaker Foods and Beverages unit will launch a Gatorade line intended to quench the thirst and grow sales among the pre-teen set.

The new Gatorade All*Stars, six-packs of 12-oz. small-mouth, easy-grip plastic bottles, will be on store shelves in August in favored kid flavors berry, watermelon and strawberry (colored shocking blue, green and red, respectively) as Pepsi-Co looks to tailor the growing franchise to new targets and new consumption occasions.

"We have great sales among tweens [7-to-12-year-olds], and we realized we weren't giving them and their moms the perfect offering for non-game occasions," said Andy Horrow, director-equity communications at the Quaker unit. Gatorade last year repackaged its 8.75 oz. aseptic packaging for younger kids, and realized that the next available size was a 20 oz. bottle, "great for kids after a game, but hard to hold and too big for recess at school or when they're out playing," Mr. Horrow said.

mainstream

"People aren't just drinking sports drinks when they're sweating, and [the All*Stars launch] is just another way to go after that mainstream market," said Prudential Securities beverage analyst Jeff Kanter.

The mainstreaming of the segment means new opportunities to go after different demographics, Mr. Kanter said. In fact, beverage marketers in general have been looking to grow their brands by tapping into new segments "at all of their life stages," said John Sicher, editor- publisher of Beverage Digest. Mr. Sicher pointed to Coca-Cola Co.'s launch last year of Disney-branded Xtreme! Coolers and Hundred Acre Wood 100% juices made with Minute Maid, as well as Dannon Co.'s launch of a Dannon Fluoride to Go spring water as examples of entries targeted to pre-pubescents.

standing out from crowd

Since All*Stars is being rolled-out during what Mr. Horrow calls "mid-season," (to set it apart from the flurry of new-product news this past spring) marketing support will initially consist of in-store displays. For 2003, though, Gatorade will consider developing mom-targeted advertising for the line from agency of record, Omnicom Group's Element 79 Partners, Chicago.

"Tweens already love our ads and really respond to it, so any new marketing becomes a mom thing," Mr. Harrow said, noting that-aside from limited print ads and coupons-the brand has rarely targeted moms.

For the twentysomething targeted Gatorade Fierce, the unit will launch the third in a series of man vs. beast ads featuring sport greats. The new ad, featuring New York Yankee's shortstop Derek Jeter battling gargoyles to depict the line as "so bold it's fierce," will break during the Major League Baseball All-Star game July 9. Pepsico spent $115 million on measured media for Gatorade in 2001 according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR.

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