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Fueling with Content: Gatorade v. Powerade

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We all have our favorite brands: I only drink Coke, my best friend only drinks Pepsi. Some only fly Delta, others refuse any flight that’s not American. So, how do two similar products win and retain loyalty from consumers? Today, content marketing and engagement provides ways to stand out and differentiate.
Gatorade is owned by PepsiCo and is distributed to over 80 countries. With a storied past that begins at the University of Florida in the 1960’s, it’s an industry leader and ubiquitous beverage from youth soccer fields to the NFL. Powerade, Coca-Cola’s answer first introduced in 1988, accounts for over 20 percent of industry sales, compared to Gatorade’s 77 percent. So, whose content plays to win?

Gatorade v. Powerade: Overall Content Strategy

Gatorade: Gatorade presents the total package: truly excellent visual content both in graphic design and in video production, awesome community management around these assets, and an incredibly simple UX on their website. The true innovation here is that Gatorade manages to speak to its target demographic — men between the ages of 18-34 — by refusing to invest in platforms and designs that aren’t going to engage with them. The flawless execution doesn’t hurt, either
Powerade: Powerade’s content is, like Gatorade’s, heavily focused on visual design with an eye toward awing and inspiring the viewer — you’re not going to find a lot of text here. Highly masculine and sports-centric, it also zooms in on contests like the Powerade Awards as well as celebrity endorsements (paging LeBron James and Derrick Rose) to grab the attention of its target demographic.
Winner: Gatorade

Gatorade v. Powerade: Usefulness to Consumer

Gatorade: Gatorade’s web content is well-presented, and helps the consumer to easily determine which product they need (Hello, huge graphics and videos). More than just making product recommendations, though, Gatorade’s web and social content is useful because it amps the consumer up and propels them to engage in the activities that will lead to needing the product in the first place. That’s salesmanship.
Gatorade Sports Fuel
Powerade: Powerade’s content is focused on fitness, and its primary usefulness comes in the form of LeBron Time, a series of YouTube videos featuring the NBA star giving instruction to fans. What could be more useful than that?
Winner: Draw

Gatorade v. Powerade: Social Strategy

Gatorade: Gatorade’s biggest wins in the social media category are its high quality content and community management. The #winfromwithin hashtag is present across channels, and Facebook replies from the brand aren’t written from a script, encouraging more organic conversations between company and consumer. The real champ, though, is Gatorade’s video content. While other brands struggle to nail it, they have 11.7m YouTube views — a result of the mix of humor, inspiration, and insider info viewers receive on the platform. Gatorade also took real-time marketing to the next level on social, trolling Powerade spokesman LeBron James‘ NBA finals sidelining due to dehydration-related cramping. This later backfired when it was revealed LeBron was, in fact, drinking Gatorade on the bench. But the damage to Powerade had already been done.
Gaterade #winfromwithin social campaign
Powerade: Just as the Gatorade set has their #winfromwithin, Powerade proponents have their #powerthrough (which Powerade also used to respond to Gatorade’s taunts when Lebron came back big time in game two). Alongside its awesome LeBron Time content, Powerade has a robust selection of videos that also span humorous and inspirational. Aligning with events such as the World Cup keeps Powerade in the spotlight and competing with Gatorade at a high level.
Winner: Gatorade, for superior community management.
One recommendation for both Powerade and Gatorade? Expand from a male-centric perspective to better include the other 50 percent of consumers — many of whom play sports (and, as a preemptive reminder: not all of whom like pink). The brand who gets there first certainly would have a huge competitive advantage, and a true differentiating factor.

By Lauren B. Mangiaforte, NewsCred Contributor
Images via Gatorade and Powerade

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