Sports Drink and Gatorade
The researchers took their findings into their lab and began to create a drink that would help the Florida Gators feel rehydrated, replenished, and refueled during their most intense athletic events.
That’s exactly what the product now guarantees to achieve-rehydration, replenishment, and refueling. They called this new drink ‘Gatorade’. By 1969, Gatorade was named the official drink of the NFL (History of Gatorade, Retrieved December 2, 2006). Today, Gatorade has reached beyond the narrow market of elite athletes. They have many product lines designed to appease the most particular of sports drinkers. No matter what your gender, your occupation, or your age, they make a drink that you can enjoy. Gatorade has many different product lines within their Thirst Quencher Series.
They distribute Gatorade Rain, Frost, Lemonade, Original, X-Factor, Xtremo, and Fierce. Within each of these different sub-categories come many different fruity flavors. Each flavor also ranges from a 12oz bottle-6 pack to a gallon jug. Gatorade also has a line of fitness water called Propel. Any consumer can purchase Propel Fitness Water or Propel Fitness Water with Calcium. Both come in a wide range of flavors similar to those found within the Gatorade Thirst Quencher Series, but with a few more. All purchases range from a 12oz-8 pack to a 1 liter bottle.
Now we jump into the Gatorade Performance Series products. This series of products has specially designed formulated nutrition and hydration in order to aid the most intense athletes in their performance. Each product is packed with nutrition in order to replace the electrolytes lost by each athlete through exertion. Gatorade has an energy bar that comes in 2 different flavors, chocolate chip and peanut butter. This 2. 3oz bar is the perfect snack for athletes on the go, or anyone getting ready to do some physical activity for that matter.
Then there’s the nutrition shake. This product comes in the obvious flavors, chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla. These 11oz shakes are a perfect way to fill an athlete’s stomach without slowing them down. And last, but not least, there are the Gatorade Performance Series Energy Drinks. These drinks are very similar to those of the Gatorade Thirst Quenchers. However, the Performance Series drinks contain a whopping 200mg of sodium. This is so that electrolytes and body fluids will be replaced within each athlete every time they take a drink.
These drinks, however, come in limited flavors and are only available in 12oz bottles (Gatorade Products, Retrieved December 2, 2006). Gatorade has become the most popular sports beverage. It is widely known and is easily distinguishable among its competitors. First of all, its packaging hasn’t changed in years. Gatorade looks the same today as it did a decade ago. Because of this, Gatorade has remained popular and not forgotten. It’s easy for a consumer to remember something that is always there and never changes.
Gatorade also remains recognized due to the number of contracts they have with several major sports leagues. As of now, they have contracts with the National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, Women’s National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, United States of America Basketball, Major League Soccer, United States Soccer, Bowl Championship Series, and the Association of Volleyball Professionals (http://www. gatorade. com/athletes/leagues_and_teams/, Retrieved December 2, 2006). The NFL is also known for performing the ‘Gatorade Dunk’.
This ritual is performed after a game by the winning team. Players pick up the Gatorade Barrel and dump what’s left over their coach’s head. This gives free publicity because it’s done by the teams without any prompting by Gatorade. Gatorade works on new products all the time. They’ve even created a special lab where their scientists can continually test new products to ensure the safety and abilities of all athletes. The most recent achievement Gatorade has produced is called G. I. D. S. (Gatorade In-car Drinking System). This system was specifically designed for NASCAR drivers.
A special pouch, that guarantees to keep any liquid cold for hours, is filled with the driver’s favorite flavor and is then placed in a secure compartment within the vehicle. There is a tube with a special coming from within the pouch and into the driver’s helmet. At the end of the tube is a mouthpiece that is securely fastened to the driver’s mouth. When the driver is ready to take a drink, they bite down on their mouth piece, to open the tube, and push a button, to pump the cold liquid through the tube and into the driver’s mouth.
When the driver’s lets go of the mouthpiece the tube closes and the pump automatically reverse pumps the Gatorade back into the pouch in order to stay cold for next time. NASCAR race cars can reach up to 130 degrees and their driver’s can lose up to ten pounds within a single race just by sweating. Gatorade keeps their body temperature down and helps replace the electrolytes and body fluids lost (http://www. gatorade. com/science%5Fand%5Finnovation/product%5Finnovations/gids/ Retrieved December 2, 2006).
Product Life Cycle Gatorade falls within the maturity stage of the Product Life Cycle. I do believe that Gatorade is still growing however its growth has slowed. According to the text, the maturity stage is reached when “the sales of a generic product category continue to increase (but at a decreasing rate), profits decline largely because of price competition, and some firms leave the market” (Etzel, 674). Table 9. 1 in the text gives another description to help define a products life cycle stage. In order to be in the maturity stage, the product must have a mass market of consumers, which Gatorade does.
They have millions of consumers. The competition is somewhat intense and their growth has slowed down. Their profits, however, are still pretty strong.They aren’t as strong as they were in the growth stage, but are still significantly strong. They defend their product against competitors, water being most mentioned when addressing the health of athletes. Gatorade costs have remained stable and their prices are reasonable. If it’s too expensive to buy each drink individually, you can always buy in bulk from a grocery store or a wholesaler like Costco.
There is extreme loyalty to Gatorade as well. Because they were the only specialty sport drink when it was created in 1965, they didn’t have to worry about winning their consumers away from a similar product. All the athletes and athletic trainers wanted this drink and became hooked on it after seeing the effect it had. By the time other brands came out everyone knew Gatorade and trusted its products. Most consumers would rather purchase a product they know works than try a new product that claims to do what everyone already knows Gatorade does.
So it’s obvious that Gatorade has brand loyalty, another way we know Gatorade has reached the maturity stage. Although they have made to the maturity stage, they still have more growth to obtain. As long as Gatorade continues to produce new products, they will continue to grow. It may not be a quickly as it was when they first introduced themselves in 1965, but they will grow (Etzel, 674). Pricing Gatorade has a very simple pricing strategy. Even though Gatorade is the leader in the sport drink market, they still use the going-rate for their pricing level.
The overall market does not have a large difference between competitors so Gatorade prices its products relative to the market pricing structure. An increase in price could lead to a loss in sales because the consumer could start to buy a competitor’s product and have the same relative advantage that Gatorade can provide. This is evident by visiting a local supermarket store. A 20 oz. Gatorade is priced at $1. 59; its main competitor, PowerAde, is priced at the same. It could be said that the market is demonstrating non-price competition (Etzel, 349).
Gatorade has chosen market penetration as its pricing strategy (Etzel, 351). Some characteristics of market penetration distinctly describe the market for sport drink. The market has an elastic demand curve and low initial price for new produces (Gatorade has come out with Propel and Fierce, both coming into the market with identical or lower prices than competitors). For consumers that buy Gatorade on a regular basis, it can become an expensive habit compared to some alternatives (I. e. water). One way that a consumer can cut down on prices is by buying in bulk.
Consumers will get more Gatorade for their buck when buying in bulk. Other than that, Gatorade does not have any promotions or coupons to induce sales. Distribution “A distribution channel consists of the set of people and firms involved in the transfer of title to a product as the product moves from producer to ultimate consumer or business user” (Etzel, 380). In short, a distribution channel will show the journey that a product or service takes from the producer to the consumer. It seems that everywhere someone goes, there is Gatorade for sale. How did it get there? PepsiCo. handles all the distribution for Gatorade.
They have chosen to go with direct-store-distribution (DSD) (Annual Report of PepsiCo, Retrieved December 1, 2006). One advantage of DSD that PepsiCo. uses is having their delivery teams merchandise their product. This allows them to display Gatorade in a way that will induce high sales. A way they attempt to increase sales is by placing Gatorade in places that will influence impulse purchases (placing Gatorade by checkout stands at a supermarket is an example). Their retail stores are the middlemen for Gatorade’s journey to its consumers (Etzel, 379). This is what is called indirect distribution (Etzel, 384).
Supermarkets are not the only place where Gatorade can be found; Gatorade is available for sales in liquor stores, department stores, supermarkets, and any place where drinks are sold. Since Gatorade is available in such a wide variety of places, Gatorade can be categorized as being intensively distributed (which means a “producer sells its product through every available outlet in a market where a consumer might reasonable look for it”) (Etzel, 393). Gatorade has been the staple in the sport drink market. Their overwhelming consistent market share can point to a strong assumption that their distribution channel is at peak efficiency.
Promotional Mix Within Gatorades promotional mix, advertising probably uses the most funds on an annual basis. PepsiCo spent 183 million dollars for Gatorade’s advertising campaigns in 2005 which is a large increase compared to the 135 million dollars spent only two years before (Hein & Beirne, 6). The most common form of advertising for Gatorade is TV commercials (MacArthur, 51). There are four main types of advertising campaigns on television. The first type highlights the history and origins of the company as well as the scientific research that goes into the product.
The second type highlights individual players that endorse Gatorade or groups of competing individuals. The third type highlights teams or leagues that Gatorade sponsors such as the NFL or the Men’s National Soccer Team (MacArthur, 22). Professional endorsements are also important to Gatorade’s advertising campaign. They endorse twenty-two professional American athletes and over twenty international athletes (MacArthur, 22). Equally important to Gatorade’s promotional mix is their public relations. They sponsor ten professional leagues. Among the list are some of the most popular sports in America such as the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and MLS.
They also affiliate themselves with 60 division one universities and 11 division one conferences. In addition to this they are affiliated to eleven professional organizations such as the American College of Sports Medicine (MacArthur, 22). Their Outstanding Player of the Year program is another way that they can reach out and recognize many outstanding high school athletes of the year around the country. This is a large program that has a state and national selection process. There is one winner for each sport. For example, Peyton Manning was the national winner for football in 93-94 (Gatorade in the Community, Retrieved December 3, 2006).
Gatorade makes a large international public relations effort. They are affiliated with many international professional soccer clubs such as Juventus and Manchester United but they extend their efforts to other sports besides soccer such as basketball, water polo, rugby, volleyball, and swimming (Hein, 5). The Gatorade Sports Science Institute is another effect tool for their public relations campaign. Through this organization they put out study results from a wide range of sport related topics and on the dynamics of specific sports.
This part of Gatorade is most easily accessed through their own GSSI website (www. gatorade. com). The Gatorade website is another address that is very well done and depicts a very good image of the company. They also have 12 other country specific websites that are in the domestic language of the country. Sales promotions are also important to Gatorade’s promotional mix and it is substantially occupied by event sponsorships. Most of these events are marathons throughout the world including the famous Boston Marathon and the Gatorade Triathlon Series (Hein, 5).
At these events they provide free Gatorade to the competitors throughout the race and for some events they offer the Gatorade Recovery Area where all competitors can be weighed before and after the race to monitor the level of fluids lost during exercise. The area later supplies food/refreshment bags, Gatorade drinks, massage and qualified dietitians (Hein, 5). To supplement this, they also print newsletters about upcoming events. The Annual Gatorade Junior Training Camp is another example of sponsoring athletic events.
This is a summer camp that combines football instruction and teaching of life skills that focus on self-improvement and motivation and is hosted by the Seattle Seahawks (Gatorade in the Community, Retrieved December 3, 2006). Limited to the Canadian website, there is a direct link to request Gatorade to sponsor an event. This all leads to the conclusion that event sponsorship is a highly used tool for Gatorade to get its product out and into the hands of many athletes. Gatorade doesn’t use many discount sales promotions in the United States but does use promotions in a number of other countries.
Last summer there was a big Indian promotion in which customers who bought the six pack received an instructional soccer CD with Rinaldinho (Buy 6 Gatorades, Win Ronaldinho CD). A number of European countries are having soccer promotions as well (Gatorade e lo Sport, Retrieved December 3, 2006). Canada is having a hockey promotion in which consumers have a chance to win professional hockey gear. I suspect that Gatorade also uses a number of sales promotions directed at their retailers; otherwise we wouldn’t see the large discounts that cut the price of Gatorade by almost in half in some of the large supermarkets.