Gatorade Is Finally Betting on Women With the Help of Candace Parker and Abby Wambach

When it comes to quenching an athlete’s thirst, one company typically comes to mind: Gatorade. The sports drink helps athletes refuel with electrolytes. Outside of maybe Nike, few athletic brands have better marketing over the years. But times change, and everyone must adapt.

Gatorade is doing its part by tapping into the knowledge and expertise of some incredible female athletes, like Candace Parker and Abby Wambach.

The history of Gatorade’s marketing

When it comes to Gatorade’s presence in the sports drink market, its success can be attributed mostly to one person: Michael Jordan. The company built its ’80s and ’90s marketing campaigns around the NBA legend. Who can forget the iconic “Like Mike” theme song from the Gatorade commercials in Jordan’s prime? He came to define the brand.

Jordan wasn’t the only person who helped Gatorade gain nationwide recognition. Winning football coaches helped as well. Following a football victory of importance, many players opt to give their coach a “Gatorade bath” where they poured a large container of it on him. The act helped associate sports fans with Gatorade further.

After Jordan helped Gatorade dominate the sports drink market, they extended their reach to every major sport. They became synonymous with baseball, football, basketball, hockey, and soccer. Gatorade became the most recognizable sports drink brand in the world. But nothing lasts forever, and Gatorade can’t always rest on its laurels.

Gatorade faces fierce competition

Gatorade is one of sports’ most well-known brands. But other competitors have tried to horn in on the company’s market share. Just look at a few of Gatorade’s competitors: 

  • Other sports drinks: Companies like Powerade constantly challenge Gatorade’s supremacy by developing new flavors and partnerships. 
  • Energy drinks: It’s not quite the same as a sports drink, but energy drinks are made to be consumed for a little boost. They’ve grown immensely in popularity over the last several years. 
  • Flavored water: Many health-conscious people examine the contents of Gatorade and opt for possibly healthier options like coconut water. As consumers shave off calories from their drinks (Exhibit A: the spiked seltzer craze), more of these options emerge. 

Beverage Industry quoted research analyst Madeline Franz on the difficulty facing sports drinks: 

Sales have been growing, but pretty gradually, and that’s probably going to continue to be the case over the next few years. The better-for-you drink market is crowded, which isn’t doing the category any favors.

So what will Gatorade do with this competition? They must evolve. And turning to a few influential women in sports to do so. 

How Gatorade has grown with the times

To ensure its brand develops with the times, Gatorade has announced the development of a new board. Here’s part of the announcement via its Instagram: 

According to the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF), high school girls have 1.1 million fewer opportunities to play a sport at school than their male counterparts, and Gatorade wants to change that with their newly assembled Gatorade Women’s Advisory Board.

The Board includes star athletes like Candace Parker and Abby Wambach. It’s a great move from Gatorade. They know everyone likes their product, so tinkering with it won’t help them stay relevant.

attaching their brand to an important cause will push more people to want to associate with them. Not only do they help women get more involved with sports, but they also improve their brand positioning. It’s a win-win. 

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