Gatorade Promo, Case study GATORADE GOES INSIDE ENDURANCE by Fleishman Hillard

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Industry Soft Drinks
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United States
Agency Fleishman Hillard
Director Chad Cooper
Associate Creative Director Aaron Weidner
Editor David Bensman
Released October 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Best Integrated Campaign Led by PR
Advertiser: GATORADE
Product/Service: G SERIES PRO
Creative/Project Manager: Karen May (Gatorade)
Creative/Project Manager: Katie Montiel (Gatorade)
Digital Manager: Caitlin Schneider (Gatorade)
Creative Manager: Adam Tanielian (Fleishman-Hillard)
Co-Creative Lead And Content Producer: Brad Burke (Fleishman-Hillard)
Project Manager And Coordinating Producer: Courtney Quaye (Fleishman-Hillard)
Assistant Producer And Media Relations Manager: Katie Farrer (Fleishman-Hillard)
Assistant Producer: Emily Lyons (Fleishman-Hillard)
Social Media Manager: Meg Poulelis (Fleishman-Hillard)
Social Media Manager: Andrew Soucy (Fleishman-Hillard)
Director: Chad Cooper (One Tree Forest Films)
Editor: David Bensman (One Tree Forest Films)
Paid Partnership Manager: Alexis Rudie (OMD)
Group Creative Director: Tony Snethen (VML)
Associate Creative Director: Aaron Weidner (VML)
Senior Art Director: Chad Green (VML)
Senior Copywriter: Joel Henning (VML)
Media placement: Webisode Shooting and Production - - July 11-December 14, 2011
Media placement: Webisode Begin to Air Bi-Weekly - - September 14-December 15, 2011
Media placement: Media Outreach - USA Today, TV Guide, OMG.Yahoo, TriJuice, Sun Times, NBC New York and Triathlon Business - August 24-December 20, 2011
Media placement: Widget Launch Date - - October 12, 2011

Summary of the Campaign
You know that neighbor who burns through new pairs of running shoes faster than you use a tank of gas? Those friends who spent more on their bikes than you did on your car? They are endurance athletes and they’re high-income and influential. They do exhaustive research on their equipment purchases but are confused about what to put in their bodies to improve their performance. And they don’t think your brand understands them at all. That’s where Gatorade found themselves this time last year.

Gatorade’s goal was to engage these skeptical endurance athletes, become their go-to nutrition resource and prove an iconic, mainstream brand had products specific to their needs. The bridge to get us there was 'Inside Endurance', a campaign centred on an original web series starring amateur athlete and reality television star, Ryan Sutter, as he worked with the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) to figure out how he could improve his performance through nutrition. Gatorade’s science and products became Ryan’s x-factor and helped him chase a goal all endurance athletes have in common - to continually improve their personal best - while the audience followed the drama across 12 episodes.

The web series was complemented by a PR campaign that drove a steady stream of media coverage and continuous digital engagement. With a budget a fraction the size of most ad campaigns, the program drove more than 80m media impressions, 150,000 video views and a significant 8% increase in endurance athlete social media engagement with the Gatorade brand.

The Situation
The Gatorade Company, a division of PepsiCo, provides sports performance innovations designed to meet the needs of athletes at all competitive levels and across a broad range of sports.

Endurance athletes are a smart, skeptical audience for Gatorade with an entire product line - G Series Pro - geared toward their hydration and sports nutrition needs. They are always looking for ways to improve on their last race and are willing to spend the money to do it. Inherently suspicious of big brands, these athletes didn’t consider Gatorade 'for them' and saw no reason to engage with Gatorade in a meaningful way or give G Series Pro a try.

The Goal
The goal of 'Inside Endurance' was to demonstrate that Gatorade understands the world of endurance athletes and can provide nutrition solutions through its G Series Pro line. Success was defined as proving that sports nutrition can improve performance so that the target audience had a reason to engage with Gatorade that directly benefited them.

Gatorade listened to endurance athletes where they gather to trade tips: training groups and social media. They found that while these athletes are very in-tune with their bodies, many weren’t aware of the critical role of nutrition. They needed proof from a relatable, credible source.

The Strategy
The strategic approach was to dramatise the experience of 1 endurance athlete as a platform for engaging the broader community. If Ryan Sutter could meet his goals by partnering with Gatorade, so could the everyday endurance athlete. The web series served as the engine of an integrated campaign which included:
- A dedicated news bureau driving media coverage of the program in high-indexing endurance markets, like Chicago and Denver, endurance-focused publications and the entertainment media that had followed Ryan since his reality television days.
- Continuous community engagement through social media by creating an endurance athlete hub on and a shareable widget optimised to live within newsfeeds, mobile phones and blogs.
- Ensuring the series was seen by endurance athletes via paid partnerships with and NBC/Universal to feature the 12 webisodes.

We followed Sutter for more than 4 months as he trained for and competed in races across the country and also went inside GSSI labs to show how the tests Ryan performed informed him about sports nutrition. The resulting content drove the campaign and was strategically distributed to surround the endurance athlete:

- Earned: Sutter appeared in top outlets in every market he raced in, on endurance blogs and mainstream entertainment media.
- Shared: Information on the series was pushed out through Twitter, and a Facebook widget was created as a shareable content hub.
- Owned: The series appeared across all Gatorade’s channels, including a special hub.
- Paid: By leveraging existing paid partnerships with endurance community favorites the series was placed on sites that this community trusts.

The campaign ran according to the original plan.

Documented Results
Program results include:

Raised consideration for Gatorade as a complete nutrition brand and partner:
- More than 150,000 views of the web series with 58% of viewers watching entire episodes, an above average level of engagement for a web series.
- Endurance athletes following the Gatorade Twitter handle increased by 8% and has been sustained since the campaign completed.
- Led to growth of 18-24-year-old endurance athletes on the Gatorade Facebook page- increasing from 38% to 43% throughout the program.

Raised awareness on how sports nutrition can improve performance:
- Sutter’s performance progressed along with the series- he beat his 70.3 triathlon goal by 2 minutes and marathon record by over 2 minutes.
- Sutter appeared in 134 top media outlets, garnering more than 81m media impressions.
- 15.9m Facebook impressions, more than 5,800 total episode shares on Facebook, 1,400 total tweets and 92,800 widget impressions.