POWERADE, the Official Sports Drink of the NCAA, will launch a new brand platform centered around POWER to coincide with the start of March Madness. Entitled “That’s Some Kind of Power”, the Wieden + Kennedy campaign provides a fictional account of what could have happened had POWERADE been around “back in the day.” JohnWallStreet spoke with Jason McAlpin (Sr. Brand Manager) and Alex Ames (Sr. Manager Integrated Marketing) about how the company distinguishes itself from a crowded sports drink category, the use of hyperbole and humor in brand messaging and what the company has planned for March Madness.
JWS: Why has the company chosen to distinguish itself from the competition, within a crowded sports drink category, by focusing on POWER?
Jason: POWERADE’s mission is to be the fuel for athletes and help them power through, so they can become the best athlete possible. That’s how we define success. POWER is in our name. It’s something that we can credibly own and uniquely claim, it’s something we have 30 years of equity in. It’s what we provide to athletes and most importantly, it’s something that the athletes create themselves. So, the campaign is the articulation of that platform.
JWS: The campaign relies on hyperbole and humor to get its message across. How did the creative side of the campaign come about?
Alex: We looked at POWER in sports and it’s not quiet, it’s hyperbolic. Mohammad Ali, one of the most hyperbolic athletes in history, put more power behind iconic moments with humor. At the end of the day, sports are entertainment; sports are fun. We really wanted to circle around these 2 words; humor and hyperbole, to unlock a unique tone within the category.
JWS: What does the campaign entail beyond commercials?
Alex: Within March Madness, we’ll be sponsoring the POWER “move of the day” and POWER “in the paint”; focusing on those powerful moments. We’ll also be on the ground as a part of fanfest, as we have been for years.
Howie Long-Short: Sports drinks are a growth category, having hit $25 billion in 2016; after rising at an APR of 7% over the prior 5-year period. Originally designed for athletes, sports drinks have since reached a mainstream audience seeking a seemingly healthier alternative to soda. POWERADE, owned by the Coca-Cola Company (KO), and Gatorade control roughly 94% of the market; with POWERADE generating roughly $1 billion in annual sales. For reference purposes, Gatorade generates roughly $5 billion/year in sales.
Fan Marino: During March Madness, POWERADE will run a 30-second national television spot entitled “Ankles”; along with 5 unique 15-second videos. You can check out the NEVER SEEN BEFORE spot, here.
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