- Gatorade today (June 25) unveiled the second half of its two-part summer campaign, according to details shared with Marketing Dive. “Don’t Go Missing” aims to promote the PepsiCo brand’s hydration benefits to the next wave of athletes.
- Key to the campaign is a tie-up with six-time NBA All-Star Damian Lillard, who features in a spot urging athletes to stay hydrated to avoid “going missing” from games. The brand also teamed with Meta and The Weather Channel for weather-triggered paid support.
- The multi-channel effort will run at key sporting events throughout the summer. The move follows a star-studded kickoff to Gatorade’s summer marketing in June and arrives as the brand vies to stay relevant in the crowded sports drink category.
Gatorade wants athletes to keep its product front-of-mind during the summer sports season, promoting its hydrating qualities as a means to combat fatigue. The move could help the brand gain a larger share of the growing sports drink market, which is expected to be worth $32.6 billion globally by 2028.
At the center of the “Don’t Go Missing” campaign is a 30-second PSA-style spot featuring basketball star Lillard, who brings attention to the fact that thousands of athletes every year are unable to perform during clutch moments due to dehydration. The ad cuts to a gloomy interview with an 18-year-old athlete, who adds that his failure to hydrate let everyone down, including sports personality Shannon Sharpe, who also makes a cameo.
The effort, which was handled by TBWA/Chiat/Day LA, intentionally takes a comedic approach to communicate Gatorade’s science-backed values in a way that resonates with younger consumers, per release details. Additionally, Gatorade’s first-ever tie-up with Meta and The Weather Channel could bring a layer of personalization to the effort to help drive awareness. The spot will be seen at key sporting events this summer, including the US Open, Little League World Series and MLB and WNBA regular seasons.
“Our category-leading solutions have dominated the sidelines for decades, and this latest creative is a nod to how we’ll continue to rehydrate, refuel and replenish athletes on their way to Greatness,” said Anuj Bhasin, chief brand officer at Gatorade, in press details.
The latest creative follows an initial installment of Gatorade’s summer campaign, “The Way to Be Great,” that notably pays tribute to the brand’s iconic “Be Like Mike” spot from the early ‘90s. The effort, which debuted in June, was intended to market the sports drink to a wider audience and rightfully includes an appearance from basketball star Michael Jordan along with athletes Serena Williams and Lionel Messi. The nostalgic play, also handled by TBWA, was narrated by rapper Eminem.
Gatorade’s “The Way to Be Great” also marked the first campaign launched under brand officer Bhasin, who began the role in January after serving 12 years with the company. In addition to work with Gatorade, Bhasin oversees other PepsiCo brands like Muscle Milk and Propel. Timed to its most recent move, Gatorade also announced that it has named Laundry Service as its new agency of record across social media and digital.
As it vies for relevancy, Gatorade has often looked to the next wave of athletes to carry on its message. For example, the brand in 2021 teamed with a handful of athlete content creators to generate sports-related posts on TikTok. The same year, the brand unveiled a Snapchat endless runner game where players control a digital avatar as it dodges obstacles, touching on the interest by younger consumers in gaming.
Gatorade is also expanding beyond the sports drink space into the highly segmented energy drink category with the release of Fast Twitch earlier this year, a rollout that it supported with a social media challenge timed to the Super Bowl. In the most recent quarter, parent company PepsiCo reported a 10% year-over-year revenue jump and boosted its full-year outlook to an expected 10% growth, up from its previous forecast of 8%, according to its Q2 earnings report.