Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Gatorade Confirms What We All Knew: Bulk of its Drinkers Are Nursing Hangovers

Posted By on Wed, Feb 18, 2009 at 10:30 AM

click to enlarge Rest assured, whatever tinkering the Gatorade folks have done, they haven't altered the familiar piss color
  • Rest assured, whatever tinkering the Gatorade folks have done, they haven't altered the familiar piss color
A long time ago, in a county far, far away -- well, Alameda -- your humble narrator read the entire Associated Press style guide in one sitting. I laughed out loud once and only once -- at the example of when and when not to capitalize the "o" in olympics: "He went on a beer-drinking Olympics."

That phrase is relevant now, regarding the redesigned and re-branded Gatorade bottles starting to hit San Francisco supermarkets. In short, a lot more of us are going on a beer-drinking Olympics than to the real Olympics, and Gatorade's latest rollout acknowledges this.

Along with dropping the "atorade" portion of its moniker -- the sports drink now will go just by "G" -- the company has come up with a bevy of snazzy product lines that marketing folks might describe as "urban" without having to explain more. Anyhow, Gatorade Fierce is now called "Bring It," Gatorade X-Factor is now "Be Tough," and Gatorade A.M. is now "Shine On."

Beyond new packaging and merchandising, the end result of all this is to justify and lure folks who have no need to drink Gatorade into drinking Gatorade. Let's start with the A.M. -- sorry, "Shine On." There is only one reason to drink Gatorade in the morning and that's for the deep-down body thirst brought about by a hangover. Clerks at several grocery stores I hit up today acknowledged that at least 50 percent of the folks buying the drink at their stores are either hung over or plan to be (You don't need to ask someone about their itinerary when the items on the conveyor belt are hard liquor, beer, and Gatorade). 

Gatorade's own marketing material conveys this message in a smarmy manner that just about breaks the unintentional hilarity gauge:

"Developed with morning flavors, the beverage helps morning exercisers

to 'Shine On' during their workouts and will contain an excellent

source (20 percent daily value) of vitamin C to help active people as

they attack their day."

Where to begin? First off, with this

glorified hangover relief product, the notion of "morning flavors"

conjures up the signature day-after trifecta of halitosis, beer breath,

and the aftereffects of that cigar you thought it'd be cool to smoke. (for the

record, the product comes in "orange strawberry" and "tropical mango"

-- surely the pillars of any American morning). As for the vitamin C, you could get four times that amount in a simple glass of orange or apple juice -- or match it with one big carrot. But, then, that's not urban.

Across the board, Gatorade's new varieties now have vitamins and antioxidants pumped into them. This is clearly a shot across the bow of the VitaminWater people -- who, like Gatorade, have made their millions making water taste good and convincing people to pay to drink what the taps disperse for free. It warrants mentioning that the second ingredient in Gatorade is still high-fructose corn syrup. In fact, a quart bottle of the stuff provides one-fifth of your daily sugar and sodium. That's not a problem if you're a high-caliber athlete running like hell and sweating commensurately. But for most of the folks traipsing through supermarket aisles and buying 200-calorie bottles of Gatorade, it is. That's why low-calorie G2 -- Gatorade for people who really have no business drinking Gatorade -- now has the vitamins you could get in, say, a handful of fruit.

One thing that hasn't changed, however, is the double-entendre that is the shape of Gatorade bottles. Click here. What do you see? Here's a hint: It's not Coit Tower.

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