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Gatorade 5v5

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Insight 

Gatorade is not only a sports drink: it’s also the extra boost that helps athletes achieve their goals on and off the field. Showing the qualities of the product is as important as creating a stronger connection between the brand, the target and the fans. Gatorade should be perceived as supporting all the stages of a soccer team’s journey – from creating competition to improving an athlete’s endurance in practice.  

Consumers can find in Gatorade a product that not only satisfies their thirst, but also connects them with star athletes and helps them create an environment of better practice and competition. 

Strategy 

Gatorade is looking to strengthen market share within the “sports drink” category. Its leadership position is proven through science and the performance of the world’s most elite footballers.  

5v5 is the perfect vehicle to take advantage of this equity in order to enhance brand relevance and product trial among young footballers in Latin America. MKTG's communication strategy was focused on telling the story of how Gatorade gives these young players the science to achieve maximum performance as well as a chance to prove that you are the best team in their city, country and ultimately the world through Gatorade 5v5. 

The strategy was divided into four phases, each one meant to produce special and distinctive moments highlighting Gatorade’s strengths. Phase one used footage from 2016’s Soccer Stars to build hype around local tournaments and inspire teenagers to join 5v5. Phase two aimed for an emotional connection between athletes and fans of each country, focusing on the patriotic pride of being represented on a regional and global scale. Stories gave mass awareness to the event, but Gatorade also wanted to recognise, enrich and utilise its new brand ambassadors - the local champions (teams & their inner circle) representing each market involved in 5v5. 

In phase three, the agency produced the tournament’s official draw, hosted by ESPN’s UEFA Champions League talent and Gatorade’s upper management. As a way to recognise their accomplishments, it also invited local champions from our biggest markets to the ESPN studios before the Finals in London for a tour of the facilities, meet & greet, and to star as special guests in targeted studio formats, celebrating their victory and wishing them luck. 

Phase four provided updates of the tournament as well as information about Gatorade benefits, connecting through tech and social in order to keep fans and followers.  

Execution 

With individual content strategies, markets recruited participants, activated local tournaments and built followings behind their teams. Original content was created throughout the activation, elevating teams and setting fan expectations as they followed their teams’ journeys.  

The execution had three phases:  

Phase One (Local Tournaments) aimed to facilitate grassroots activations at a local market level. To grow the 5v5 brand’s global reach, over 3,000 teams from Latin America, Europe, and the USA were invited to participate. Each country developed a local tournament to select a team to represent them in the global final.  

Phase Two (Amplification) set out to build a cohesive storyline and encourage engagement from local markets, combining themes of national pride, competition, and inspiration to increase Gatorade relevancy and build anticipation for the UCL Final.  

Phase Three (The Finals Experience) established a strong connection between Gatorade and UCL brands through strategic partnerships and expanding the 5v5 experience to showcase innovation in football and sports science. Fourteen teams were chosen to compete in the UK for a chance to attend the UCL Final. 

Players were treated like pros, beginning their journey at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, where they were surprised by legends Thierry Henry and Robert Pires for a Q&A and photo op. 

Two days of competition were held at a 5v5 venue. The highlight was the Athlete Village complete with an Innovation Station, educating players on the latest in hydration innovation from Gatorade Sports Science Institute. Players tested custom Gx formulas developed through sweat testing at the local level.  

Results 

There are few connections quite like the one between a footbal team and the country it represents. The pride of seeing one’s national identity in regional and global competitions generates a following unlike any other, and that’s what Gatorade achieved this year with its 5v5 tournament, where teenagers competed for a chance to wear their country’s colours on a global stage. 

With 14 markets across Latin America, North America and Europe participating in the global tournament, 54.6 million people were following their country’s 5v5 team by the end of the activation.   

Gatorade’s partnership with ESPN connected the 5v5 platform and emotionally engaged with fans throughout 18 countries in Latin America. Other partnerships with Futbolsites reached over 27 million fans across 11 different related portals in Latin America.  

The content amplified for 5v5 from May 22nd to June 6th had an average reach per post of 27% surpassing the initial objective of 20% per post. It achieved an average engagement rate of 17% (industry benchmark 10%) and an average view rate of 16% (industry benchmark 12%). Additionally, the content had over 106 million impressions and over 20 million views, impacting 72% of the target and surpassing its original goal of 50%.  

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