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Archive for the ‘Powerade’ Category

Act II: Gatorade vs Powerade – The Legal Battle

Posted by ZA on April 14, 2009

PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are at it again; battling tooth-and-nail for the lead position to quench consumers thirst.  This time the fight is with their sports drink division, which matches up heavyweights Gatorade and Powerade.  The current dust up started with Powerade’s new campaign launch, which directly attacked Gatorade as the “incomplete sports drink”.  Powerade is using a heavy buy on ESPN and outdoor to support their message of superiority to Gatorade.

Now Gatorade is striking back, but not in the form of an advertising campaign.  Gatorade is seeking legal action to stop Powerade from what G calls, “false advertising, trademark dilution, deceptive acts…and unfair competition.”  Gatorade refutes Powerade’s claim of superiority in having two additional electrolytes.  Gatorade also wants the court to prevent Powerade from using “distorted” depictions of Gatorade bottles in their advertisements.

If nothing else this gives the lawyers at PepsiCo & Coca-Cola something new to clash over.  My guess is that Gatorade wins in preventing Powerade from using their direct brand marks in the campaign, but doesn’t prevail in stopping Powerade from claiming to be more “complete”.

Gatorade Logo

The best line in the AdAge article was from the Coca-Cola spokesman who said, “We stand behind our product and are prepared to defend the role that Powerade plays in hydrating consumers.”  I loved the part about “hydrating consumers” because it is typical PR guy speak to use while defending your brand.

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Posted in Gatorade, Powerade, Sports Brands, Sports Marketing | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Powerade uses ESPN to attack Gatorade

Posted by ZA on March 23, 2009

The detente in the sports drink war between Coca-Cola and Pepsi is officially over, and Coca-Cola’s Powerade is coming out swinging. Powerade has launched their first major marketing campaign since 2001 and the current campaign paints a target squarely on the back of chief rival, Gatorade.
powerade_logo

The new Powerade campaign mocks Gatorade as being an “incomplete” sports drink because it lacks a couple of the electrolytes that Powerade has in their new formula.  The campaign will become the first advertiser to take over the cover of ESPN The Magazine, which it will do with a cover flap that says “You wouldn’t want an incomplete cover.  Don’t settle for an incomplete sports drink” next to a Gatorade bottle.  The inside flap of ESPN will show a Powerade bottle with the tagline, the “complete sports drink”.

This campaign is a bold move for Powerade, taking a ‘challenger strategy’ by clearly singling out their competition.  But it a strategy that parent companies Coca-Cola and Pepsi have engaged in before across other beverage categories.  In this case Powerade has very little to lose by comparing themselves directly because has over 75% market share in the sports drink category (compared to 22% for Powerade).

And there may never be a better time for Powerade to attack because Gatorade is in the midst of a rebranding project.  Making their move while Gatorade transitions their brand might allow Powerade to capitalize on some consumer confusion; getting people who suddenly don’t associate with the Gatorade brand to reach for a Powerade instead.  Sun Tzu said in “The Art of War” that “all warfare is based on deception.”  Powerade seems to be taking a cue from him in this war for sports drink supremacy.

Tale of the Tape: How does Gatorade versus Powerade stack up?
Parent company: Gatorade is PepsiCo.  Powerade is Coca-Cola Company.
Founded: Gatorade in 1965.  Powerade in 1988.
Marketshare: Gatorade has ~ 77%.  Powerade has ~ 22%.
Calories (main product): Gatorade has 158.  Powerade has 195.
Official sports drink: Gatorade has MLB, NFL & NHL.  Powerade has Nascar, NCAA, PGA & US Olympic Team.
Top endorsers: Gatorade is endorsed by Derek Jeter, Peyton Manning & Tiger Woods.  Powerade is endorsed by LeBron James, Ryan Howard and Venus Williams. (View complete list of endorsers.)

Posted in ESPN, Gatorade, Powerade, Sports Brands, Sports Marketing | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How will attack ads shape the sports world?

Posted by ZA on October 27, 2008

Advertising Age posted a great article on the exponential growth of comparative ads in the advertising world.  AdAge says these “attack ads” are becoming a common tactic for the underdog in a given sector.  The success of Apple’s Mac vs PC ads have inspired a new wave of attack ads from companies in a variety of industries.

* Dunkin Donuts is going after Starbucks on coffee.
* Time Warner and Verizon are attacking each other on broadband service.
* Direct TV is attacking Time Warner on the dish being better than cable.
* Progresso is going after Campbell’s on healthy soup.
* Microsoft (aka: PC) is counterpunching Apple (aka: Mac) with their “I’m a PC ad”.

So the question is which sports brands are going to start directly attacking each other in these combative style ads?  There are many companies who spend a lot of marketing dollars in the sports world, who already have a history of attacking each other, including: Coke versus Pepsi, Burger King versus McDonald’s and Miller Lite versus Bud Light.  But what sports brands are going to form the next wave of attack ads:

Under Armour vs Nike vs Reebok/Adidas
* There has already been a history of some attack ads in this space, but look for upstart Under Armour to try to gain market share by tearing down their bigger, richer rivals.  Attacks on Nike are going to be coming from all directions, as Reebok/Adidas will continue to battle Nike for supremacy in different sports categories.  The last few years Nike and Adidas have exchanged a lot of blows as Nike tries to grow their foothold in the soccer world, a previous stronghold of Adidas.

Gatorade vs Powerade evolves to Vitaminwater vs SoBe Lifewater
Again these are two companies that are not strangers to attack ads.  They and their parent companies, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, have battled back and forth for years.  The new battleground will be the flavored water, where Coke brand Vitaminwater will fight against attacks from Pepsi’s SoBe Lifewater.

UFC vs Elite XC
Wait, this battle between rival MMA organizations looks to be already over with the news that Elite XC is going out of business.  Score it a TKO for the UFC and Dana White.

NBA vs NHL
It’s doubtful these two leagues ever take off the gloves and really start bashing each other, but there might be a few jabs thrown.  The two major professional sports leagues compete for dollars, fans, corporate sponsorships and television air time every year.  Both are hurting for revenue, so rather than try to build their own brand they may choose to attack the other brand to try to grab some market share.

These are just a few, surely there will be more big name sports brands that throw down the gauntlet to go after their competitors.  It’ll be interesting to see which of these “attacks” prove effective, and which turn out to be just more noise in the marketplace.

Posted in Apparel & Shoes, Gatorade, NBA, NHL, Nike, Powerade, Sports Brands, Sports Marketing | 1 Comment »

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:

NBA
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)

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

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

Other
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.

Posted in Endorsement Deals, Gatorade, Powerade, Sports Marketing | 1 Comment »