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Case Studies


How Gatorade cracked the UK market as the most credible sports drink

How Gatorade cracked the UK market as the most credible sports drink

In July 2008, independent field marketing agency Reach was tasked with launching Gatorade in the UK with the purpose of creating a campaign with synergy across marketing and PR.

Its objective was to establish Britvic’s Gatorade as the most credible sports drink on the market. They also needed to drive awareness amongst target at launch and subsequent trial and deliver a relevant, motivating & credible launch message. This campaign was highly successful and with their pioneering use of technology into stores equated to 80% of soft drinks market value.


The drink is predominately aimed at a sports orientated audience as it sits within the Sports Drink category.  Gatorade was created in 1965 by University of Florida scientists for the Florida Gators American Football team to combat the hot and humid conditions. 

Lead by Dr. Robert Cade, scientists developed this first Sports Drink based on water, carbohydrates and electrolytes. Gatorade is now the World’s No. 1 Sports Drink, worth over $1billion and has a 48% share of global Sports Drink market

The demographic can be broken down as both committed exercisers and social players who tend to be 25 – 44yrs old with a male bias. They spend most of their free time out of home; as such they consume a lot of out of home media and are light TV viewers.

As sports enthusiasts they also consume a lot of media either about sport (magazines/ or whilst in a sporting environment (gyms or ‘on the field’). However additionally the aim was to increase frequency and penetration with existing buyers and bring new users into the Sports Drinks sub-category.

This was a highly efficient media plan designed to:

· Achieve the greatest cut through in market amongst core consumers
· Drive Gatorade and category sales above current category penetration levels
· Reach 92% of their target 15 times over the course of the launch and nurture campaign
· Equate this to 7.8m adults Vs current category penetration of 3.6m

Reach Campaign

The Reach launch of Gatorade into the impulse market was essential to single serve brands especially given the desire to add value to the sector. Targeting simply Gyms, vending machines etc to gain market share would not add value to the market, but merely steal share from the competition. Consequently Reach felt it essential to gain the fastest route to market to ensure focus and visibility thought both the Reach and clients structures.

The challenge for the Reach team was get to 25k stores of the target market but with a predefined investment level this was completed using an integrated strategy. This saw them provide feet calls into the top 18k stores with Livewire and back this up in further 7k outlets with a combined DM/TM campaign.

Reach created Livewire as an innovative and highly effective solution to help support this. The benefits of using Livewire was a highly motivated and focussed sales team and the strongest NPD launch results seen within Reach’s customer base.

In addition there was a heavyweight campaign used to support the launch therefore it was essential to get immediate new product distribution to gain trial on the back of this spend. 

Livewire enabled Reach to push every distribution point throughout the day by focusing on development areas as they occurred instead of waiting for end of day results. Also the theatre from the screens helped to drive dialogue about supply, display and support from all sectors of the Britvic Soft Drinks business.

The Livewire tool used enabled instant reporting of:

· New distribution points gained
· Cases sold into retailers
· Chiller Display trays sited
· At Sales person, Sales Manager or National level via screen visual and data tables

This had significant impact and achieved the highest distribution of any Britvic new product development launch resulting in 85% of stores visited stocking Gatorade over the 4 week campaign. To achieve this the Reach team sold a total of 25,700 cases of Gatorade – overall a fantastic performance.


Gatorade Graph


Whilst texting technology is not new, the use of a “livewire” presentation and data system is leading edge. The sales were within 18,500 Independent Convenience and Impulse channel stores and results accounted for 80% of the soft drinks market. Reach utilised a market leading database of attributes to identify the best stores to call upon and therefore target the highest opportunity with limited calls. Britvic will be re using this technology with their latest high profile launch - Juicy Drench with a 5.5M ATL brand spend.


For expert digital strategy training, contact The Knowledge Engineers who have a range of digital training courses.


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