BrandDunk

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Posts Tagged ‘Powerade’

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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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 »