Reverse Engineer: Gatorade: Is It In You?


This is an ad campaign that has a lasting effect on my mind. When I think of effective ad campaigns this one by Gatorade popped into my head immediately. This campaign ran in the late 90’s to early 2000’s, but I wondered why it still has an impression on me. Gatorade is associated with being the drink of choice for the best athletes in the world. When you think of Gatorade you think of these athletes and you think of Gatorade being able to elevate your athletic performance, at least more than water will. I feel this ad campaign was essential in Gatorade becoming associated with the drink of choice for athletes during games. This post will focus on why.


In this ad we can see how the blue color in the message is it in you? is highlighted in the word it, but the rest of the letters are white. This is to make you immediately thinking of it as Gatorade. The shades of black and gray make the it, sweat, Gatorade bottle, and liquid basketball player pop making the blue liquid drink the focus of the ad.


Repetition is found in the form of colors. Everything that is supposed to be associated with the Gatorade is blue. It’s getting the viewer to associate Gatorade with the player, which is NBA basketball star Vince Carter, and his performance. They make it look as if he is sweating the Gatorade and you therefore assume that IT(Gatorade) is obviously in him and is what he drinks when he is playing the game. The basketball figure on the left is also repeated as a blue liquid to associate drinking Gatorade with playing basketball and performance.


The ad uses the rule of thirds. The text is in line with the bottom of the Gatorade bottle. Humans are drawn to the eyes and you can see that the blue liquid man on the left is at eye level as well. The blue bottle also is aligned with the blue man and almost looks like it is pointing up to it due to its shape.


At first I thought the proximity of this ad was a little disjointed and things were too far apart. I then asked why did the designer choose to separate certain pieces. The words is it in you are grouped together with the player Vince Carter so that the viewer associates the question with the athlete. Since he appears to be sweated blue Gatorade. It makes you question why you aren’t drinking what Vince Carter is drinking. The bottle and the liquid man are further apart from the player because if they were closer to the player it would take the focus away from the Gatorade being within the star basketball player.


The color blue pops from the gray and black colors and highlights the product. The color is all associated with the blue flavor of Gatorade. The color blue makes over the player already makes you associate that with his drink of choice since it is on him.


The principles of design we have being learning about which are contrast, repetition, alignment, proximity and color are all within this ad by Gatorade. It is a pretty simple ad with a lasting impression and gets you associating the drink with the best athletes in the world without saying a lot.


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