Why Gatorade’s New Jeter Ad Hits a Home Run - Strategic Marketing

Why Gatorade’s New Jeter Ad Hits a Home Run

With the close of the 2014 baseball season in sight, the imminent retirement of Derek Jeter signifies the end of an era to all baseball fans. Jeter, aka The Captain, has become not only a Yankees legend, but an icon of New York as well.

Gatorade has launched an amazing advertising campaign based on Derek Jeter. Since 1990, Gatorade has been the official sports drink of Major League Baseball. Its familiar orange bucket sits on the bench, along with the players, in support of the team.

The TV ad, which will launch this Saturday, September 20, was released as a YouTube video yesterday and immediately went viral. Within 24 hours, it had over 2 million hits. It became a top trend on Twitter and the video passed quickly through social media channels by fans of Jeter, baseball, New York, the Yankees and even Gatorade.

The ad is strategic marketing at its best. Filmed in black and white, it sets a nostalgic tone. With Sinatra crooning My Way in the background, it raises goose bumps whether you like baseball or not. The clip shows Jeter on his way to Yankee Stadium before a game. As he asks the cabbie to let him off, “I’ll walk from here,” he looks like a regular guy in jeans.

But this is no ‘regular guy’ in New York. Virtually everyone recognizes him and he humbly plays the hero, signing autographs for kids, waving hello to construction workers, giving hugs to the ladies. Reaching the stadium, he dons the pinstripes with the #2, and enters the field. Only now does the viewer see the Gatorade bucket on the bench, in the background.

Gatorade has hit one out of the park with this ad. It’s different than a celebrity endorsement – Jeter neither drinks nor speaks about the product. Instead, Gatorade has connected with the audience, aligning with the fans to honor and support one of their most beloved stars. When the video concludes, Jeter’s #2 is emblazoned on the black screen, with Gatorade’s signature lightning bolt stamped in the center. The screen transitions to Gatorade’s own logo, a G with the lightning bolt in the center. The connection is undeniable, strategically marketing the pair as partners and solidifying Gatorade’s place in this historic event.