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PICK-ME-UP FOR GATORADE CAFFEINATED DRINK PUSHES QUAKER UNIT INTO NEW ARENA

By Published on .

CHICAGO-Gatorade Co. thinks it's high time people wake up and smell the SunBolt.

The sports drink unit of Quaker Oats Co. last week unveiled its first caffeinated beverage. SunBolt will be positioned as a morning pick-me-up for adults rather than as a beverage for athletes.

The new drink and a Gatorade energy bar, both fruit-flavor, being quietly tested underscore a new push for the brand. Gatorbar, with 110 calories, extends Gatorade into food for the first time.

The new bar competes with Berkeley, Calif.-based Powerfoods' PowerBar, another low-fat, high-carbohydrate bar for active people.

The drink hits selected East Coast markets this summer and rolls national in the fall. It will be backed by a TV campaign from Jordan, McGrath, Case & Taylor, New York, but no budget was disclosed; Gatorade's primary agency is Bayer Bess Vanderwarker here. Sampling handled by Silverback Creative Corp., Wellesley, Mass., also supports.

With 58 grams of caffeine-as much as a cup of coffee-SunBolt is entering the relatively untapped morning beverage market, which Pepsi-Cola Co. failed to crack with Pepsi A.M.

Consumers "want high tech development of products that serve a certain very specific purpose," said Gatorade President Donald R. Uzzi about SunBolt.

Gatorade sales rose 8.6% last year, but the brand's sports drink share, once more than 90%, slipped to 82.6% against rivals like Coca-Cola Co.'s PowerAde and Pepsi-Cola's All Sport.

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