Globe & Mail Campaign: Gatorade-G Series Launch

A Special Information Series: 2013 Cassies Awards

Campaign: Gatorade-G Series Launch

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Campaign: Gatorade – G Series Launch
Client: PepsiCo Beverages Canada
Agency: TBWAToronto
Campaign Period: April 2011 – June 2012
2013 Cassies Award Winner: Silver for Packaged Goods Beverage and Bronze for Best Launch



First broadcast during the NHL All-Star Game in January 2012, the 30-second television commercial shows the nutrition and training that fuel game-day performance. The top-half of the screen shows Sidney Crosby in the midst of a gruelling training session as he refuels and rehydrates with the G Series system. The bottom half of the screen shows how this preparation translates into a game-winning goal. The message: achievement is a combination of proper training, nutrition and effort.


After 40 years, it was time for Gatorade to evolve.

Gatorade, the original sports drink brand, had become the G Series, the comprehensive sports fuel that included two new products, Gatorade Prime and Gatorade Recover, along with the original hydrator, rebranded as Gatorade Perform.

“Launching a new product is always exciting,” says Shirley Mukerjea, director of marketing, Gatorade, Hydration & Emerging Brands, at PepsiCo Beverages Canada. “But this was a product evolution, so we knew that repositioning would take time.” A two-stage launch was developed, the first to introduce the new G Series and the second to explain the benefits of each element.

With the goal of changing athlete behaviour, PepsiCo Canada wanted education to be the cornerstone of the campaign. At the same time, however, it had to be exciting and could not simply echo American or global advertisements, says Ms. Mukerjea.

“Our campaign had to be genuinely Canadian,” she says. “To be credible with Canadian athletes, we needed a campaign that was clearly part of the Canadian sports landscape. That’s why we introduced and shared the G Series story through the training and competitive routines of two Canadian sports icons, Georges St-Pierre and Sidney Crosby.”

quote_head8“To be credible with Canadian athletes, we needed a campaign that was clearly part of the Canadian sports landscape. That’s why we introduced and shared the G Series story through the training and competitive routines of two Canadian sports icons, Georges St-Pierre and Sidney Crosby.”
Shirley Mukerjea ,
Director of Marketing,
Gatorade, Hydration &
Emerging Brands, at
PepsiCo Canada Beverages



For Jonathan Smith and Rodger Eyre, associate creative directors at TBWAToronto, the direction for the new G Series campaign was straightforward.

quote_head9We knew we had to entertain viewers from beginning to end, and that meant it had to build in momentum and excitement.”
Jonathan Smith,
Associate creative director
at TBWAToronto


“We needed to position the G Series as a three-part training and game day system that does more than just rehydrate,” Mr. Smith says. “We had to show that the three beverages contain the correct ingredients to help athletes before, during and after an intense workout.”

To do that, the creative team focused on more than just the glory moment of scoring a winning goal.

quote_head6We wanted to show everything that leads up to the puck going into the net, which is the culmination of hours of training, proper nutrition and lots of practice
Rodger Eyre,
Associate creative director
at TBWAToronto


“The G Series is part of that preparation, equipment as fundamental to a hockey player as skates and a stick,” says Mr. Eyre.

The challenge was to both educate and entertain.

“Advertising can’t be boring, or it will be ignored,” Mr. Smith says.


quote_head7Everyone wants the relationship between agency and client to be a partnership. This client relationship actually achieves that goal to everyone’s benefit. We challenge them and they push back to re-challenge us. One idea builds on another, and things just keep getting better.
Patrick LeMoine,
TBWAToronto’s group account director for PepsiCo Canada

From the start, both client and agency demanded that the campaign be genuinely authentic.

The first phase was filmed in Montréal with Georges St-Pierre at his gym while he worked out, and the second phase captured Sidney Crosby as he went through his training routine and competition.

“We could have asked him to do things that we imagined a hockey player might do to prepare for a game, but that wouldn’t be good enough,” says Mr. Smith. “We wanted it to be real, and that meant working with Sidney’s trainers and filming him going through an actual training routine.”

The highlight of the commercial comes as Sidney Crosby shoots a winning goal in what looks like an actual NHL game.

“When it came to the winning goal, there were no compromises,” Ms. Mukerjea says. “We had to make arrangements with the NHL, the NHLPA and Sidney’s team to shoot in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ home arena. It wasn’t an actual game, but the goal did take place in front of a crowd of 17,000 fans.”

While it was being shot, one huge uncertainty hung over the commercial. Sidney Crosby was recovering from a concussion, and no one knew if or when he would play again.

“We didn’t hesitate to base the commercial around Sidney Crosby,” says Ms. Mukerjea. “We believe in him and supporting athletes is what Gatorade is all about.”




Canadian Advertising Success Stories – the CASSIES is Canada’s only awards show recognizing the business effectiveness of advertising as demonstrated by rigorous published cases. The ICA (Institute of Communication Agencies) is the driving force behind the event, which is hosted by Strategy Magazine and supported in Quebec by the AAPQ (Association des agences de publicité du Québec) and APCM (Association des professionnels de la communication et du marketing).

Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, the CASSIES reflect the ICA’s long-standing dedication to the advertiser-agency partnership and continuous learning. Winning cases must successfully navigate a demanding two-tier examination by senior-level judges. All told, more than 350 success stories have been published in the Case Library at, along with Crossover Notes that point out critical success factors.

“Advertisers face the challenge of determining ‘does great work get results?’ TBWA was able to respond with a resounding ‘Yes!’ when it launched a ‘Before, During and After’ system for Gatorade, which exceeded all sales targets despite a competitor’s price decrease,” says Gillian Graham, CEO of the ICA.

The road to CANNES
For many CASSIES award-winning ad agencies, the next challenge will be to take their best work to France to compete in the 2013 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, June 16 to 22.

Officially represented in Canada by The Globe and Mail, the annual Cannes Lions awards are widely considered a pinnacle of global excellence in creative communications.

For more information, visit and