Gatorade was created in 1965 by medical researchers at the University of Florida, the brand is now owned by PepsiCo and is properly the worlds most recognisable sports drink manufacturer and is used by athletes all over the world to replenish fluids and rehydrate. In previous years the brand has used the worlds biggest sport stars (Michael Jordan, Usain Bolt, Tiger Woods, Serena Williams) and flashy adverts to sell there product and while it continues to do this, it has recognised the need for a fresh approach and has turned to Social Media. Not only that but the company created a Social Media Command Center in Chicago during April 2010, which is staffed by four employees who monitor the user-generated online feedback among the target audience 24 hours a day. The technology which is provided by IBM is state of the art and allows the brand to follow emerging trends in real time, and supplement existing data such as traffic levels and clickthrough rates [Warc, 2010]. Below are some screen shots of the system is action:
Inside “Mission Control”
The screen above shows the number of mentions of the brand on Twitter
Images Taken From Mashables Article
But what has Gatorade gained by investing an obviously large sum of money into this new wave of advertising? This focus on social media seems to offer the opportunity too:
- Allows the company to keep track of perceptions of there image.
- Creates an online presence
- It can correct misconceptions,an example of this was; “a representative participated in a Facebook discussion erroneously stating Gatorade contains high-fructose corn syrup”.
- Answer users questions, whether this is where to buy the product in question or how to use the products during exercise.
- Keeping customers and fans onside, for example a number of commercials ran which featured a song which, Mission Control quickly noticed was being heavily discussed in a range of social media. Within 24 hours, they had worked with the artist in putting a version of the song out and distributing it to Gatorade followers on the social media sites.
- Increasing customer engagement, the company says it’s been able to increase engagement with its product education (mostly video) by 250% and reduce its exit rate from 25% to 9% [Gatorade, 2010]
- Increase the contact been the consumer and the athletes. NFL Stars answer fans questions during SuperBowl
What Gatorade believes they gain from the new approach:
Gatorade’s biggest competitors Powerade, also now aims to step up there Web 2.0 approach and launch a new wave of advertising in the comming months. Interms of Gatorade and PepsiCo, the brand hopes to expand the approach to other fields of its business, Bonin Bough (PepsiCo director of global social media) has said “We believe what we’re building here is an example of a sandbox of tools and processes we can use across the organization,”.
- Mashable – Inside Gatorade’s Social Media Command Center
- Brand Channel – Gatorade Floods Social Media Monitoring
- WSJ – Gatorade’s Mission: Sell More Drinks
- Warc – Gatorade’s Social Strategy Sets Benchmark
- Gatorade Facebook