I’m quite fond of water. I drink it almost exclusively and with much gusto. I yell at others to drink it and trick young campers into drinking more of it than they want. Therefore, it’s quite rare that another type of beverage is able to seduce me away from my favorite form of liquid. I’ve realized that when I do choose something other than water, it’s not for new flavors or for different tastes, but because some part of me believes it’s a healthier choice or is fulfilling some perceived physical imbalance. At some point in my childhood, Gatorade thoroughly infiltrated my subconscious and convinced me that their product served that exact purpose. In fact, to this day, if I’m hungover or have a long day of physical activity ahead or behind me, I reach for a Gatorade! How could that be? The girl who is so devoted to water, turning to a processed chemical product when most needing hydration?! On the surface, this purchasing behavior makes no sense when held up beside my long-held devotion to pure H20.
After attempting to delve deeper into my mysteriously high opinion of Gatorade’s utility, the only answers that could be found were my pervasive memories of Gatorade sweating out of the pores dozens of athletes, famous or otherwise. Their commercials showed people working out, competing, dancing, flipping, sprinting, scoring, all while upsettingly neon colors dripped and poured from their foreheads. This image clearly stuck with me, although it’s been several years since that particular marketing campaign. I truly began to associate that type of drink with athleticism and, taking it further, as a liquid that actually assisted with performance. The images used were vivid and memorable. It was only years later, when my father picked up marathon running and started ranting about the importance of electrolytes, that I would have any scientific underpinnings to the messages being communicated on my television screen.
It’s funny, as I attempted to go back and find these commercials, what I discovered is that Gatorade has continued to lean into sweat as the core image their commercials revolve around. They have slogans such as “Sweat It. Get It.” and “Keep Sweating.” Their commercials continue to consistently use images of athletes sweating, although now it’s usually with a Gatorade in hand, rather than coming out of their pores. Amusingly, something else I discovered while trying to find the commercials of my childhood, was a devoted set of blog posts about how horrifying some found the images of Gatorade seeping out of a person’s body. People hated it! But as they are still talking about it, it clearly made an impression. At the end of the day, the advertising for this product affected the way I thought about it, successfully spurred my purchasing behavior, and kept the brand’s name in the public consciousness. Now go sweat, and don’t forget your Gatorade!