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Gatorade Dives Into the Water Wars

The iconic sports drink brand Gatorade is making waves by jumping into the ultra-competitive bottled water market with their new product line called Gatorade Hydration. This bold move puts them in direct competition with major water brands like Aquafina, Dasani, and Smartwater.

The Sports Fuel Giant Thirsting for More While Gatorade virtually owns the sports drink category, comprising over 70% market share, the brand recognized an opportunity in the $18 billion bottled water space. As more consumers ditch sugary beverages for healthier hydration options, Gatorade saw the need to evolve.

"Gatorade built its legacy by innovating to meet the hydration needs of athletes," said Shane Peirce, Head of Gatorade Strategy. "Now we're bringing that sports fuel mentality and superior hydration to the everyday water consumer."

Taking on the Big Water Brands To succeed, Gatorade will have to wrestle market share away from established water titans like Aquafina (PepsiCo), Dasani (Coca-Cola), and Smartwater (Coca-Cola). These brands already have extensive production, distribution, and marketing in place.

However, Gatorade believes it can leverage its respected sports performance branding and proprietary hydration research to differentiate its water products. Each Hydration variety contains a unique electrolyte mix designed to enhance fluid absorption.

"Our products are water, elevated," stated Peirce. "We're delivering hydration to consumers in a way no other water brand can."

Gatorade Water is alkaline with a pH of 7.5 or higher, electrolyte infused for a refreshing, crisp taste, and the bottles are made from 100% recycled plastic. The premium water was developed for active people looking for an all-day hydration option.

It's meant for those who are out there making moves, who understand that staying hydrated isn't just a benefit, it's a fundamental human need.

"Today's athletes are more wellness-minded than ever, and they expect Gatorade to meet all of their hydration needs, 24/7," said Anuj Bhasin, chief brand officer at Gatorade. "Gatorade Water is an all-day hydration option for all active people, no matter who they are or how they move, from the leader in sports fuel that they know and trust."

Gatorade Water is launching with a surround-sound 360-marketing campaign titled "Always in Motion," which captures the spirit of the athlete who's making moves and making progress every day.

  • A bold, digital-first campaign features disruptors in the world of movement who flow the way water moves.

  • World-renowned dancers, choreographers and producers, Les Twins, Emmy nominated choreographer and professional dancer Witney Carson and choreographer and dancer Aliya Janell, bring the fluidity of water to movement and mindset.

  • Gatorade Water will also be featured in linear television commercials that are made to move people in inspiring ways.

  • The hero creative features longboarders, dancers and other movers, alongside Gatorade's lower sugar lineup that is for keeping all athletes hydrated, regardless of level of activity.

The "Always in Motion" campaign includes a robust digital out-of-home execution across the U.S., premium online video and digital and social platform support. The linear spots will run across tentpole sport moments throughout the spring, including college basketball in March, NBA regular season and playoffs, and WNBA tip-off.

Gatorade Water will also be inspiring those following the Gatorade social handles to keep making moves through hype content and more. And those based in cities known for always being on-the-go -- New York City, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago -- can keep an eye out for ways to get moving with the brand.

Can Gatorade Make a Big Splash?

While Gatorade has deep pockets and brand equity from PepsiCo, pivoting into water won't be easy. Health trends bode well, but many predict steep competition will lead to a bloody pricing war.

Robert Eckert, former Gatorade President, thinks the move makes sense: "Entering water gives Gatorade a presence in the biggest non-alcoholic beverage category. But they'll have to invest heavily to take share."

Whether Gatorade's hydration play sinks or swims may ultimately come down to clever marketing and product differentiation. The water wars are only getting more turbulent from here.

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