Thursday, January 8, 2009

Ad Age Today - WTF is G?

Now and then I will be blogging about things I've read on adage, adweek, and any other sites that post things that are controversial, interesting, news breaking, or just plain retarded.

With that in mind, yesterday on they posted about the new Gatorade ad campaign, "What is G?". Have you seen them? If not, take a look. The ads are starring multiple athletes that are being panned through with a voice over of the one-and-only, are you ready for this... LIL WAYNE! At the end of the spot, a big fat capital serif G appears.

Just for reference here's the spot:

Apparently, gatorade is looking for a better way to brand themselves. With this campaign TBWA/Chiat/Day, Los Angeles, tried to generate buzz by leaving the spots open for conversation. However, even after seeing the commercials some people, including myself, were confused as to who the spot was for: Guess, Gap, G-Unit? Some commenter's even thought it might be an ad for Nike, God, a new African-American television channel.

On the first day the spot aired on their youtube channel (whatsG1965) it received 70,000 hits. But a second version of the spot aired on their channel only 4 days later and only received about 900 hits. Way to miss the ball eh?

Personally, I like the concept but most people are slow and if you don't tell them who or what the ads are for they wont care. In the post on adage Josh Warner says, "when you're using celebrities, why not make the brand connection more obvious? Celebrities can compete with your brand, if the message is too subtle." I heavily agree with this and am curious why they didn't even use the Gatorade lightning bolt to associate the brand with the spot?

I wonder what was wrong with the past ads? The orange sweat dripping down athletes faces? That for me, was memorable and created a better brand image then the "What's G" spots (hehe). Couldn't they have extended that concept? What they should have called it is "WTF is G?" Additionally, why Lil Wayne? Are you serious? What's his association to sports? I googled "lil wayne athlete", "lil wayne sports", plain "lil wayne" and I could not find any association. I don't get it.

Oh and just in case you don't know or forgot what Lil Wayne looks like here's a visual:

Along with that, they decided to rename their drinks from Rain, A.M., Fierce and X-Factor to "No Excuses," "Shine On," "Bring It" and "Be Tough." Who the hell named these drinks? Why would any athlete pick up a drink that said "Bring It" or "Shine On?". Doesn't that remind you a bit of cheer leading or rainbow bright?

The campaign is starting off a little rocky but, Matt Cutler, VP of marketing and analytics at Visible Measures, seems to be an optimist and says that it's still early... but he ads that if the videos don't take off within four weeks of being posted, they likely never will. (

I hope the ratings get better or people are actually buying more Gatorade because their other spots received less then 7000 views. Soon Gatorade may be looking for a new agency. Ouch!

Click here to read the actual article on


  1. I just saw this ad for the first time about a half hour ago, and I thought "What the hell is this for?" It sounded like some kind of public service announcement, (for what I don't know), but I think Gatorade has missed their mark here. Maybe it's because I don't like the taste of Gatorade as it is, but I really don't think that this is going to attract many people, especially if, no one can guess what it's for. I agree, the colored sweat is a lot more memorable than this is. And my guess is that they used Lil Wayne for star power

  2. Hey Melissa,

    Thanks for commenting. That's my guess too. Lil Wayne's star power didn't seem to be powerful enough though. If they used someone's voice like "tiger woods" even "Michael Phelps" it would have had more impact and relevance.

  3. haha, i too was completely confused when seeing this commercial yesterday on tv. while i wasn't exactly paying attention, i distinctly remember watching the odd panning motion and accompanying voice over going "WTF and when are they going to tell us what this is about?"

  4. Coming from their powerful imagery of gatorade sweat, and then downgrading to Lil Wayne's voiceover saying "That's G" -- appears more like a desperate attempt to be hip and urban than a spark for conversation.. It's like a conservative suburbanite from San Ramon saying "That's G"... and well, that's just...wrong. *shudders*

    A deliberate attempt to be more young and relevant ALWAYS ends up coming off cheesy. When brands try TOO hard to be cool, young people just don't buy it. Scion is a great example of a brand that really gets its demographic. Mcdonald's tries very hard to be cool and each commercial is embarrassing to watch. I feel like they're trying to maneuver their way into becoming a lifestyle brand--but if they had only stuck to their athletic 'play hard at any cost', that would've worked. 100 times better.


  5. Speaking of McDonald's I have to agree their new chicken nugget ads are becoming soo cheesy. However, not gonna lie, they totally get stuck in my head. The R&B guy gets so into it. It's Hilarious. But apparently they've been doing that since the 90's check it out!

    and here's the new and improved R&B version:

  6. Lil' Wayne... they obviously weren't willing to use him as the face of their campaign, so they just used his voice.

  7. So true about Voice Overs,and what’s perhaps even more devastating is that there’s been so little support to help the community rebuild.