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SBJ/March 3 - 9, 2008/Forty Under 40
Published March 3, 2008
In 1996, rumors buzzed around Bursa, Turkey, that the mob planned to retaliate against Americans for alleged insults that two former NBA players said to local women at a nightclub. Most Americans were advised to stay inside, but Scott Paddock had to appear in public.
The 6-foot-9 redhead was the center on the Bursa professional basketball team and it had a game the day after the incident. Though he was one of two Americans on the team and was easily identifiable, he stepped onto a basketball court surrounded by 300 armed military men and played almost every single minute of the game.
"If that's not pressure, I don't know what is," Paddock says today. "That's the type of situation where you just had to adapt or you wouldn't make it."
Paddock did a lot of adapting during the six years he played professional basketball, mostly overseas, and his ability to adapt and adjust to challenging circumstances has been critical to his success as a sports marketer at Gatorade.
Those skills were tested early in his career there when he had to decide if Gatorade should continue its 20-year sponsorship of NASCAR. Weighing the company's options, he recognized that much of the value in motorsports marketing had shifted from the sanctioning body to the tracks and drivers. He proposed following that shift.
The result was an agreement with International Speedway Corp. that gave Gatorade title sponsorship of "Gatorade Victory Lane" at 13 tracks. A series of deals with drivers such as Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman followed.
"Scott was able to say, 'Look, I know we don't want to give up a long-term relationship, but shifting our spend makes sense," said Wasserman Media Group's Tom Fox, Paddock's boss at the time. "It resulted in a groundbreaking deal."
Paddock's ability to adjust to challenging circumstances continues to be tested today in his current position as director of sports marketing at Gatorade. The company faces the most competitive noncarbonated beverage market in its history and has undertaken one of its biggest product launches as a result with G2, a low-calorie lifestyle drink.