One of the most innovative Super Bowl ads this year didn’t run on TV, and it hardly even explicitly mentioned the brand. That said, the brand was hard to miss. Gatorade came out with an animated filter on Snapchat, which allowed users to dunk a virtual Gatorade cooler over people’s video selfies.
The only branding consisted of a single “G” on the cooler, which flashed onscreen for a split second. The Super Bowl moment on Snapchat wound up driving 160 million impressions, Mitchell said. That’s more than the 115 million who tuned into the game.
Kenny Mitchell, head of consumer engagement at Gatorade, said the brand is getting pretty close with the ephemeral messaging platform although it doesn’t have an account there yet. In fact, the Super Bowl lens came about over drinks in Chicago with Snapchat’s Imran Khan in December, where they were discussing the potential for partnerships in the coming year.
“If you’re trying to connect with young competitive athletes, that is the platform to seriously be considering,” Mitchell said. “This was a great opportunity to partner with them to showcase an iconic moment and let consumers engage with it.”
“The Gatorade thing was perfect timing. You had Snapchat, you had the Super Bowl,” said Chris Gomersall, CEO of Atomized, a digital content management company. “Friends were sharing them over and over, and that’s the most powerful marketing when you get someone to play with your brand 10 times.”
Twitter still retains the real-time mantle, and Gatorade has 334,000 followers there. “It is about marketing in the moment, marketing in real time, marketing at the speed of sport,” Mitchell said.
Gatorade has been rethinking its approach to Twitter, however, now that there’s an algorithm model in place, through which many Twitter users will start seeing a selection of curated tweets atop their streams.
“We are focusing more on impact over frequency,” Mitchell said. That means instead of rapid-fire tweets, more care will go into developing messages that have the potential to rise to the top of a curated environment.
Gatorade looks at Instagram, where it has 744,000 followers, as a place to post imagery that borders on art, Mitchell said. “We want to create something so cool that you’d want to blow it up, make a poster, and hang it on a wall,” he said.
As for parent app Facebook, Gatorade has been heavily leaning on video there, and was an early partner in 360-degree video, which launched last year. “Facebook — and YouTube — are all about scale and targeting,” Mitchell said. Even though likes don’t quite matter anymore, Gatorade does have 7.3 million of them on Facebook.