SBD/Issue 213/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Power To The People: Powerade Launches New Ad Campaign

Powerade has launched one of the largest ad campaigns in brand history, signing 18 athletes across five different sports to endorse the sports beverage category. The program, which began earlier this month, is the latest effort by the Coca-Cola-owned drink to gain share in the category from leader Gatorade. The following lists the athletes participating in the campaign.

Nuggets F Carmelo Anthony
Chargers LB Shawne Merriman
Jazz F Carlos Boozer
NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya
Redskins QB Jason Campbell
Celtics F Paul Pierce
Hornets C Tyson Chandler
Saints TE Jeremy Shockey
Clippers G Baron Davis
Hawks F Josh Smith
Angels RF Vladimir Guerrero
Panthers WR Steve Smith
Heat F Udonis Haslem
Suns F Amare Stoudemire
Phillies 1B Ryan Howard
WTAer Venus Williams
Magic F Rashard Lewis
Titans QB Vince Young

NOTES: Williams predominantly promotes the Powerade Zero line, but is still considered part of the campaign.

Powerade Launches
New Ad Campaign 
BACK TO BASICS: Powerade VP/Marketing Matt Kahn, who was with Glaceau when it was bought by Coca-Cola last May, headed the in-house campaign, and he borrows some successful components from his previous experiences. “We felt like a lot of the strategy we used for Glaceau Vitaminwater would be of use for Powerade,” Kahn said. That included finding athletes that were a “natural fit” for the beverage. It also means the company is distancing itself from recent campaigns, which featured ads of Cavaliers F LeBron James making 90-foot jump shots and suspended Falcons QB Michael Vick throwing balls out of stadiums.

HOME-GROWN ACTIVATION: The activation for the campaign differs from other efforts of equal size. While each market with a Powerade endorser will have traditional marketing components -- billboards, spots on local radio stations -- the company also is employing a “guerilla marketing” aspect in that a large amount of activation will be generated on a local level. Local bottling partners will become involved in various endeavors by each endorser, whether it is camps or various charitable initiatives. There also will be local retail programs that differ with each home market. Kahn: “Our field marketing efforts play to the natural personalities of our partners.”

TRIPLE THREAT: The athletes were selected for several reasons, the main of which being the company “wanted to get back to basics and align ourselves with the core sports,” according to Kahn. While all 18 partners will have a significant presence in their home market, Anthony, Howard and Merriman will serve as the national faces of the campaign. Kahn indicated that the trio has the “swagger and confidence” Powerade was looking for on a national scale. “We felt if we selected one athlete from each of the core sports,” Kahn said, “it would allow us to create a powerful creative.” While Anthony and Merriman each have a less-than-perfect public image -- Anthony was arrested for suspicion of DUI in April; Merriman was suspended for four games during the ’06 season for using a banned substance -- Kahn indicated the company is not concerned about any negative associations in conjunction with those instances.

Steve Smith, Vince Young Two Of 18 Athletes Featured In Campaign 

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