- PepsiCo's Gatorade launched an international campaign called "Everything Changes" featuring FC Barcelona players Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez and promoting a new, sport-specific drink, Gatorade Football Energy, a news release announced. The drink was developed for soccer players at all levels and comes in three flavors: lemon, mango and orange.
- The campaign follows the storyline of Argentina's Messi and Suárez, of Uruguay, who are friends and teammates but also compete against each other when they play for their national teams. Gabriel Jesus, who plays for Manchester City and the Brazilian National Team, also appears in the campaign, which will run throughout Latin America, Western Europe, Asia, Mexico and the U.S. It will include TV, print, digital, social media, point-of-sale elements and more.
- Gatorade is also continuing its sponsorship of the Gatorade 5v5 Football Tournament for amateur players to show off their skills at a global level. More than 2,000 teams from more than 19 countries will compete for a chance to play at the Gatorade 5v5 Global Championship in Barcelona in May. This year's tournament adds a women's bracket.
Gatorade parent company PepsiCo continues to search out ways to tap into growing consumer interest around the World Cup, even though its rival Coke is serving as the official sponsor this year. A campaign narrative about how players like Messi and Suárez — usually teammates — will compete against each other on their national teams, as is the case during the international soccer tournament, shows how the brand is subtly skirting outright mentioning the World Cup while still working into a rivalry narrative leading up to the games.
Messi, one of the most popular soccer players in the world, is also featured in Gatorade sister brand Pepsi's ongoing "Love it. Live it. Football" push that rolled out in March and recently introduced a capsule collection of clothing curated by designers and artists from around the world. With the new campaign starring players from South America and the soccer-focused beverage, Gatorade could appeal to more Hispanic and Latin American consumers, a growing demographic that U.S. marketers have largely underserved to date.
In a recent call discussing Q1 earnings, PepsiCo officials announced plans to boost its marketing spend and expressed hopes that new products, like its zero-sugar Gatorade, could help reverse declines. Organic volume of PepsiCo beverages dipped by 3% and operating profit dropped 22% for the quarter, while revenue from its North American beverages unit, which contributes to one-third of sales, dropped 1%.
Beverage and refreshment stalwarts like Gatorade are also facing greater competitive threats from younger brands. BodyArmor, a new sports drink, recently called out Gatorade for what it perceives as a lack of innovation and its use of artificial sweeteners, colors and flavors, per Fast Company. A campaign from BodyArmor features the NBA's James Harden and Kristaps Porzingis, the MLB's Mike Trout and the WNBA's Skylar Diggins-Smith ribbing Gatorade as being outdated. Gatorade responded by pointing out its beverages are made with a science-backed formula.