Branding the World of Sports

Gatorade’s “Be Like Mike” a trend setter

Posted by ZA on October 27, 2009

Gatorade started airing their “Be Like Mike” commercials in 1991.  The commercials starred global basketball icon, Michael Jordan, in a series of off-court clips with footage of his NBA games intermingled.  The catchy “Be Like Mike” provided the background theme for these spots.  Suffice to say the commercials were an instant hit and people around the world began repeating the phrase every time they hit the basketball court.  I remember a few memorable attempts of my own to “Be Like Mike” while goofing around on the basketball court.

Gatorade – “Be Like Mike” commercial

What wasn’t known at that time is the influence the “Be Like Mike” commercials by Gatorade would have on sports marketing.  How many other brands would copy the formula in successful future commercials.  The formula: catchy tune plus fast action of filmed spots and clips of game action all mixed together.  Gatorade set a standard back in 1991 that has been copied by some of the biggest name in sports since then.




2 Responses to “Gatorade’s “Be Like Mike” a trend setter”

  1. M. said

    Not seeing how the Nike ad follows from the Gatorade original… fun to watch these again, though.

    • ZA said

      The key elements of the Gatorade commercial that carried over to the other commercials is: the use of a song/music as a key hook and the mixing of staged with real action clips. The Nike “real action” shots are staged, but the element is the same. You see those techniques a lot these days in commercials for sports brands.

      And I totally agree with you – it’s great to go back and look at some of these clips. Particularly like the old school glass bottles in the Gatorade commercials, I had forgotten about those.


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