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Marketing

Move aside Dravid, Pepsi’s game for the Davids

The company is using its flagship sports brand, Gatorade, to sponsor cricket activity in the country for the very first time, and it’s looking at developing talent at the grass-roots level

PepsiCo, which has been closely associated with cricket, has maintained a distance from the ongoing Indo-Bangladesh one-day and Test series. But not for too long. The cola major is back in the game, but with a difference.

Brand Pepsi is heading towards the grass roots, realising the need to be associated with players right from the beginning of their careers. This is also evident from the last television commercial launched by the company after the ICC World Cup 2007 for its flagship brand. The TVC featured a bunch of kids getting their official cricket team uniforms ready for the next World Cup.

And that’s not all. For the very first time, PepsiCo has attached its isotonic sports drink brand, Gatorade, with the hunt for India’s next bowling sensation. The initiative is called ‘Gatorade Pacers’.

Move aside Dravid, Pepsi’s game for the Davids
Gatorade is a popular sponsor of other sports, especially soccer, basketball and hockey, but this is the first time ever that the company is using its flagship sports brand to sponsor any kind of cricket activity in the country.

Geetu Verma, executive director, innovation and business development, PepsiCo India, says this is not an intentional move. She explains, “It’s just a coincidence that our last few communications convey a similar message. In fact, we have been associated with the game silently at various zonal level events for almost a year now.”

Verma is quick to add that this strategy doesn’t mean a complete disassociation with senior level cricket – the brand’s relationship with class one cricket will continue apace.

Further elaborating on Gatorade’s association with the game, she says, “As a brand, we aren’t just getting sportsmen on television to ask viewers to drink it just because they are endorsing it, we try to get involved with the game as much as possible. For instance, we did a sweat test on the Australian cricket team last year to figure out their fitness levels.”

Gatorade boasts of its strong credentials as an expert on hydration, which is essential for fast bowlers.

Gatorade is a non-carbonated sports drink marketed by the Quaker Oats Company, a division of PepsiCo. Originally made for athletes, it is now commonly consumed as a snack beverage. The drink is intended to rehydrate and replenish carbohydrates (in the form of sugars sucrose and glucose) and electrolytes (sodium and potassium salts) depleted during aerobic exercise, especially in warmer climates.

Gatorade is one of the founding sponsors of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. It is also the official sports drink of the National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, Women’s National Basketball Association, NBA Development League, National Hockey League, US Soccer Federation, and Major League Soccer.

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