228. New Gatorade G Campaign.
Jan 14, 2009 at 08:07AM
Maybe the best part of the huge Pepsi brand redesign, is the work for Gatorade. The packaging is looking rather good. Though I’m not totally sold on the font choice for the G, I do like the idea of changing the names of the product lines from weird things like ‘rain’ or ‘x-factor’ to strong call to actions like, “No Excuses” and “Be Tough.” And that’s when the type shines - doing justice to these new mantras. Overall, a logical step for the beverage maker. So the packaging is getting there, but I have a serious issue with the way the G is being used in the advertising launch.

A Teaser Ad in USA Today

Gatorade is (was?) in the rare position of being able to progress past an ordinary logo. They could have used this rebrand as an opportunity to evolve into using a symbol for their brand. Their ‘bolt’ is fairly recognizable and when backed by a heavy media budget, could have entered Apple and Nike territory, needing only a symbol to communicate their message. (Which is a nice progression if a brand can manage taking that step successfully.) Gatorade has experimented with that in past, but seemed a little shy to commit to it. In the new advertising they are finally showing this courage – except for the wrong element. Instead of using the bolt, they are letting this new block G sit out there all on its own – except that it has no real brand equity yet and worse still, they seem to be tossing away the bolt for no good reason. This could be simply a teaser campaign, but even if that's the case - it feels a bit irresponsible.

The New Packaging

And the advertising itself focuses on the G, as if it means something. The spots (below) are not awful, but they’re trying way too hard to be any good and it’s a missed opportunity for Gatorade to reclaim the throne of energy drinks. A couple spots cannot give meaning to a letter overnight, and I’m not sure many years of advertising can either. The company could have easily shot the same footage and using a different voiceover and the bolt symbol, ended up with a more powerful, disruptive launch. Which is what they needed. But the communication itself isn’t that bad – it’s really the design decision concerning the logo that adds a confusing, misguided layer to the work that is completely unnecessary. The only thing I can figure out is that Gatorade’s new agency (TBWA/Chiat/Day – a great agency, to be sure) is trying to be a bit mysterious. Normally, I like a little tease – but not at the expense of a brand that was so close to entering the rarified air of only needing a symbol to mark their brand. I predict in a few years that you’ll be seeing the bolt instead of this lonely letter G. And maybe, when the tease period is over, they’ll at least go to a combination mark that includes the bolt. We’ll see. I'm wondering how you folks out there feel about this. (I see a similar issue with Tropicana dumping it's straw in the orange concept for a more generic look too.)

The Launch Spots

Update on Jan 14, 2009 at 08:57AM by Registered Commenterjj

A related article i just came across, from adage.

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