SBD/Issue 81/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Powerade Seeks To Gain Zero-Calorie Consumers To Rival Gatorade

Powerade Zero Posted 84%
Increase In Q3 Sales

Coca-Cola has “convinced lots of athletes to try its Powerade brand, which has steadily chipped away at Gatorade’s huge market share lead over the years and is on a serious roll of late, partly because of the rapid rise of a zero-calorie variety,” according to Jeremiah McWilliams of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. The Gatorade-Powerade “faceoff has turned gyms, ball fields, basketball courts and running trails into a marketing battlefield,” as the two rivals have “ambitious plans for their sports drinks.” PepsiCo “rolled out a bevy of Gatorade offshoots in the past year including protein drinks, nutrition bars and other products for before, during and after workouts.” Powerade has “not launched nearly as many specialty lines as Gatorade, but it is not standing still.” Powerade Senior Brand Manager Carolyne Guss said that the company plans to launch a new advertising campaign with Hornets G Chris Paul, as well as a "new fruit punch flavor for Powerade Zero.” Powerade has “replaced Vitaminwater on the sidelines of 88 NCAA non-football championships, including baseball and basketball, giving it wide-ranging marketing rights.” Beverage Digest reported that Powerade’s sales “nearly tripled, from 63 million cases to 177 million cases,” from ’00 to '09. Gatorade “remains dominant, however, with sales of 553 million cases last year.” McWilliams noted one reason for the Powerade sales increase is that its drinks are “typically cheaper than Gatorade.” But Coca-Cola execs said that “price is not the most important factor,” and that Powerade has “gotten a big lift from the introduction of Powerade Zero, which posted an 84 percent increase in third-quarter sales.” Kantar Media noted Gatorade “spent about $95 million on measured advertising in the first nine months of 2010 -- five times more than the $18.7 [million] Coca-Cola spent on Powerade.” Powerade “has its share of prominent partnerships, including with last year’s World Cup in South Africa.” But with a “smaller budget, it emphasizes lower-profile partnerships with Pop Warner football and Little League” (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/8).

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