Gatorade

Leading Digital and Social Integration for Global Markets 

As a partner for Gatorade’s U.S. and global markets, VML is responsible for strategy development, consultation and creative integration. VML team members from Kansas City collaborate with Gatorade’s network, including its headquarters in Chicago as well as markets across the world, on website globalization and to optimize digital and social campaigns for local activation.     

Win from Within Campaign

Challenge

Gatorade’s core consumers – teen athletes – were having trouble understanding what Gatorade’s “Win From Within” positioning meant and weren’t connecting with the brand.

Idea

We searched for a way to communicate the meaning behind Win From Within to this core consumer audience, but sometimes the best ideas are right in front of you. In our case there were five: Ben Jackson, Bobby Hornsby, Erica Wilson, Annie Hilton and Pit Bulls. After talking with Ben on social media, it became clear that the way to fully define Win From Within for our audience was to use stories from our audience.

 

We shared the stories of teen athletes who embody what it means to Win From Within, launching with Ben Jackson. Born with spastic cerebral palsy, Ben didn’t want that to define him or his limits. So he defied all odds to become a wrestler and so much more. Ben Jackson is never finished.

 

Growing up where one wrong choice can get you killed, he finds the strength to make the right one. Bobby Hornsby is The Fighter, featured in the second release.

 

She was a typical, happy 12-year-old until a disease that took the use of her legs forever changed Erica Wilson’s life. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, she found a new sport and is starting again.

 

Annie Hilton lived to be a gymnast, but a terrible accident revealed a more devastating condition. Though many doubted if she could return to the sport, Annie never doubted and charged ahead fearlessly.

 

Finally, when a few coaches formed a basketball team from 10 different alternative schools, they didn't know what to expect. After a losing season, no one would have blamed them for giving up. Instead, they gave more.

Results

  • 5.1 million video views across four videos
  • 126,139 total social engagements across the five stories 
  • 91 percent of mentions of the series are connected back to Gatorade showing strong brand engagement
  • The series was picked up by major outlets and influencers such as Huffington Post, Yahoo Sports, USA Wrestling, Sage Steele (host of NBA Countdown), NWBA and ESPNW News
  • Ben Jackson drove five times more shares on YouTube compared with similar videos and drove 51 percent more shares than the Locker Room Makeover by Dwayne Wade, with less budget
  • Ben Jackson accumulated more than three years of total watching time in just two weeks on YouTube
  • 96 percent of views have been within our 13-24 age range, showing we are resonating with our core audience
  • Campaign to extend into the next year

Gatorade Social

Challenge

Despite being in market for four years, Gatorade's tagline wasn't connecting with its teen consumer. Win From Within, the belief that athletic performance is driven from the inside, was not communicating the brand ideals.

Idea

Most sports brands talk about what's on you: the clothes you wear, the equipment that you use and the accessories that help you look the part. But that's only half of what an athlete needs. There are also forces in you that are better indicators of performance: carbohydrates, protein and electrolytes, as well as your determination, willpower and heart. That's what it means to Win From Within.

 

So we set out to bring those elements to life by creating our social voice, aligning our content pillars to Gatorade KPIs (Inspiration, Used by the Pros, Products Work and Backed by Science), creating our visual identity and populating a social calendar for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. But we did more than post and pray for results. We activated our roster athletes, asking them to help define Win From Within to their followers. We ran social campaigns that allowed consumers to put a photo of their Win From Within moment on a bottle of Gatorade. And we even mined our followers in search of Win From Within stories that the world needed to hear. The result was Win From Within: The Series, a set of YouTube documentaries featuring young athletes who have overcome enormous obstacles to show the world that athletic performance is driven from the inside.

Results

Within the first year, our social approach paid huge dividends. Retweets skyrocketed more than 200 percent. Our follower base tripled on Instagram. Even our most mature channel, Facebook, had a 20 percent increase in engagement. And, most importantly, Win From Within social mentions increased 33 percent in relevancy, showing us that our consumer was connecting with our message like never before.

Unreal Around the World

Challenge

Making Gatorade stand out during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, when the brand was not an actual sponsor of the event. Overall objectives were to shift the conversation and perception of Gatorade and football and drive brand engagement. 

Idea

VML’s strategy focused on demonstrating that Gatorade fuels elite football. We asked elite amateur footballers to demonstrate how their training and hard work translates to unreal performance on the pitch by uploading a video to GatoradeFootball.com. Five winners would get the chance to play, train and tour at seven of most iconic clubs around the world.

Results

There were 3.4 million views of the launch video. Registrations and submissions exceeded projections by more than 150 percent, and there was an increase in the brand health metric in the categories of “awareness” and “used by pros.” 

Fierce

Challenge

With the expansion of the Gatorade product lines, consumers found it hard to distinguish the differences between Fierce and the original Thirst Quencher flavors.

Idea

Taking a cue from its bold and intense products, Gatorade took a fresh approach by teaming up with nine artists and giving them complete creative liberty to tell the Fierce story online. These collaborations allowed artists to express the boldness and intensity of the flavors in unique ways ranging from animated motion graphics to a souped-up street machine. 

 

These artists were intentionally selected because they appealed to and connected with Gatorade's teen audience in places they already were, outside of the brand's typical sports-related moments — where sport and art collide.

League of Captains

Challenge

How can Gatorade engage teen athletes and drive sales during the summer months – the season when athletes should be drinking Gatorade the most? 

Idea

Teen athletes look up to the pros like they’re superheroes. But we gave athletes a chance to become a superhero in their own right by letting them create their very own DC Comics sports hero.

 

Using a mix of paid and unpaid media, teen athletes were driven to Gatorade.com where they could create their own athlete superhero – choosing from more than 2.5 million customizable combinations as well as creating their own superhero name. Their character could then be easily shared on their social channels or even used as their social profile pictures.

 

The campaign showcased some of the biggest names in the NFL as they were featured on limited edition bottles, online videos and five digital comic books.

 

Athletes could also submit a photo for a chance to have it redrawn by a DC Entertainment artist. 

Results

  • 186,000 characters created
  • 275,000 comic reads
  • 280% increase of users’ Time on Site
  • 300% increase in click-through rate
  • 450,000,000 media impressions
  • 340,000 new social fans/followers