Usually consumer packaged good marketers wait until products are available for sale before they start advertising. But in a new ad debuting today, Gatorade is putting the marketing ahead of the product.
The spot, called "Your Game Is Our Lab," uses famous sporting stars like J.J. Watt and Usain Bolt to tease new foods and drinks that in some cases are still in development. The goal is to show that the PepsiCo-owned brand's innovation pipeline is fueled by insights gained from athletes. "We believe that there is a value to communicate we are working on these projects and how we are working on them," said Xavi Cortadellas, Gatorade's head of innovation.
The agency on the ad is TBWAChiatDay.
Gatorade -- long known for its sports drink -- has diversified its product line in recent years, coming out with a range of shakes, smoothies, bars, bites and powders.
Potential new products that are vaguely teased in the spot include a protein-enriched yogurt designed for muscle recovery, "bite-sized protein food forms" and "nitrate boosts," according to the brand. Mr. Cortadellas said such products are designed to address "specific fueling needs throughout the day." But, he added, the target launch dates are not slated until sometime during 2017 and 2018.
Another product shown in the ad, called the Gx bottle, is a lot closer to reality. It includes a sports bottle and refillable drink pods that are mixed with water. A version designed for top athletes and teams includes "smart tracking technology" that provides real-time hydration recommendations based on sweat loss and sweat composition. Data is gleaned from a wearable patch that tracks sweat rates, as well as a "smart cap" on the bottle that measures how much a person is drinking.
"Every athlete gets [their] own formula, and based on the athlete's profile and specific athletic occasion we can recommend which is the right formula for them," Mr. Cortadellas said.
A simpler version designed for everyday consumers does not include the smart tracking technology, but still allows drinkers to mix in various flavors of the pod drink concentrate. "The advantage of the pod is instead of carrying [multiple] bottles around the field, you grab a few of these pods, put them in your gym bag and … have Gatorade on-the-go ready for you all day long." The brand is planning to launch that product in September.