Gatorade readies UK relaunch

PepsiCo is to position the Gatorade drinks brand in the UK as a sports performance resource for athletes and amateur fitness fans as part of a relaunch of the brand this year.

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The drink’s UK marketing push will begin with the launch of ’Mission Control’ to generate and monitor conversations on social media and its UK website about fitness, training and nutrition.

Director of Gatorade’s Mission Control William Morris says the brand hopes the UK room will replicate the existing US version and build a “community of influence”, moving Gatorade from being just a drink to a sports performance brand.

Morris admits Gatorade needs to “do a better job” in the UK. To this end, Gatorade’s current US-style communications will be tailored to be relevant to a British audience.

He says: “Our biggest [partner] in the US is the NFL, but that doesn’t mean anything in the UK. So our goal is to make sure we are leveraging that same type of connection for sports beyond what works well for the US.”

Gatorade commands about 75% of the sports drink market in the US but just 1.2% in UK where Lucozade Sport is the market leader.

Last year Gatorade featured sprinter Usain Bolt, and swimmer Joanne Grew in its advertising.

In the US, Gatorade sponsors several sporting events including the NFL and NASCAR. However, for UK events, sports drink sponsorship is dominated by GlaxoSmithKline’s Lucozade Sport, which has been a partner of the Premier League since its inception in 1992.

The UK sports and energy drinks category grew 15.6% in the 12 months to October 2010 to £827.6m, according to Nielsen Scantrack.

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