Branding the World of Sports

Gatorade vs Powerade: Whose stars are bigger?

Posted by ZA on July 25, 2008

Coca-Cola’s Powerade is launching a new “Power Up” ad campaign in an effort to cut into the marketshare of of industry leader Gatorade.  The launch will be supported by a slew of new sports stars that will now endorse Powerade.  The athletes will be featured in the traditional media component of the campaign, specifically in their home markets.  The 18 sports stars selected as endorsers by Powerade are:

Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets)
Carlos Boozer (Utah Jazz)
Tyson Chandler (New Orleans Hornets)
Baron Davis (Los Angeles Clippers)
Udonis Haslem (Miami Heat)
Rashard Lewis (Orlando Magic)
Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics)
Josh Smith (Atlanta Hawks)
Amare Stoudemire (Phoenix Suns)

Jason Campbell (Washington Redskins)
Shawne Merriman (San Diego Chargers)
Jeremy Shockey (New Orleans Saints)
Steve Smith (Carolina Panthers)
Vince Young (Tennessee Titans)

Vladimir Guerrero (Anaheim Angels)
Ryan Howard (Philadelphia Phillies)

Juan Pablo Montoya (Nascar)
Venus Williams (Tennis)

Anthony, Howard and Merriman will be designated as the national faces of the campaign.  The rest of the athletes will focus on their core markets.  Which is a good plan that hit a speed bump when Jeremy Shockey was recently traded from the New York Giants to the New Orleans Saints, leaving Powerade without a local star presence in the largest U.S. media market, New York City.  My guess is that Powerade will either add someone in New York, and possibly Chicago, or try to utilize Venus Williams presence at the US Open as their in to the Big Apple.

What is most striking about this Powerade promotion is the athletes they picked to lead it.  It seems their strategy is to align themselves with up-and-coming endorsement stars, rather than trying to pluck the marquee endorsement stars from each sport.  That is not a knock at these stars ability, but more a commentary on their Q-rating which are all about B-level.

If that is what Powerade is trying to do, it is certainly an interesting strategy to employee in this particular space because for years their chief rival, Gatorade, has made a living signing the biggest marquee names available.  Gatorade’s current endorsement stars including Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning, Derek Jeter, Candace Parker, LaDainian Tomlinson, Maria Sharapova, Sidney Crosby, Landon Donovan, Kevin Durant, Matt Kenseth, Kevin Garnett, Eli Manning and Dwayne Wade.  That list reads like a who’s, who of the biggest stars in each sport.  Only Vitaminwater, another Coca-Cola product has a list of celebrity endorsers that can come close to Gatorade (Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Tom Brady, Brian Urlacher & David Ortiz).

What is Powerade’s strategy in putting these 18 stars up against the All-Star lineup that endorses Gatorade?  Powerade is playing the odds by signing a large number of star athletes who have not yet made the jump to superstar status.  They have a bunch of chips on the table and can wait and see which one’s pay off big over the next few years.  Essentially Powerade is trying to block out Gatorade from signing any of these 18 athletes and hoping one of them turns into the next Michael Jordan or Peyton Manning in-regards to endorsement potential.

Personally I like the move by Powerade, they’ve got a stable of great, mostly young talent to represent their brand.  Many of whom are already fairly large stars in the endorsement world, and the one’s that are not yet seem to be on the way up.  What is the ceiling for endorsement potential on Juan Pablo Montoya, Ryan Howard and Vince Young?  Seems to be pretty high for each of them, and if those don’t work out they’ve still got established athletes like Venus Williams and Paul Pierce leading their brand.

The 18 Powerade stars might not currently matchup with the lineup from Gatorade, but their long-term potential is excellent.  Powerade made the right move in taking quantity over top-notch quality, now it will be interesting to see how that gamble pays off.


One Response to “Gatorade vs Powerade: Whose stars are bigger?”

  1. […] the rest here: Gatorade vs Powerade: Whose stars are bigger? branddunk, internet, marketing, money, nascar, nba, olympics, powerade, random-stuff, […]

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