Lately, it seems that Gatorade has been trying to match the relentless intensity of the athletes it sponsors. The company has deployed its militaristically-named G-Force teams to 13 markets throughout the American Midwest and South in order to expose a new line of products to athletes in high schools, colleges, gyms, and any other facility where pumping iron is a way of life. Their ultimate goal? To seize a larger chunk of the notoriously finicky – yet highly profitable – athletic supplement market. The new Gatorade campaigns stake Out “Points of Sweat” in U.S. schools.
G-Force has been distributing its specialized lineup of drinks, chews, shakes, and nutritional supplements into a number of locations, with a particular focus on schools with highly competitive athletic programs. They’ve even gone so far as to install specialized, temperature-regulated dispensing machines that keep their drinks ice cold and their chews at room temperature.
The aggression of the push might surprise some – after all, Gatorade commanded a whopping 70% share of the total sports-drink market last year – but in a highly saturated market, Gatorade feels it has no choice but to dominate even more turf. They are also banking on the notion that winning brand allegiance with athletes while they’re young will give Gatorade more legitimacy among hardcore fitness heads in the years to come.
Paradoxically, some of the resistance they face is a byproduct of their own success: Gatorade has such universal brand recognition among the general population that many hardcore athletes don’t take it seriously as a producer of top-notch fitness supplements. To that end, Gatorade is sending field teams of sports nutritionists to the selected locations to preach the Gospel of “Gatorology,” as they call it. It’s an expensive and time-consuming push, but executives say that parent company PepsiCo is committed to the program for the long haul.