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Powerade Empowers Athletes Who ‘Take a Pause’ for Global Campaign Timed to Olympics

Published on Apr 16, 2024

Powerade Empowers Athletes Who ‘Take a Pause’ for Global Campaign Timed to Olympics
Marketing Dive
Marketing Dive

Dive Brief: 

  • Powerade, a Coca-Cola-owned sports beverage, has unveiled a global campaign featuring gymnast Simone Biles that is focused around supporting athletes’ mental and physical well-being, per a press release. The effort is timed to the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
  • Key to the campaign is an emotional hero spot, “The Vault,” inspired by Biles and the intense expectations that come with being a professional athlete. Additional creative will feature Team Powerade athletes who similarly promote the campaign’s well-being mantra. 
  • The campaign, created by WPP Open X led by Ogilvy, will launch in 30 markets and span social, TV, on-site experiential activations, field-of-play presence and more. The brand will also introduce a new Powerade Gold beverage and host a bespoke Olympic Village experience.

Dive Insight: 

Powerade is striving to further the conversation among athletes around mental and physical well-being with its latest campaign, an effort that builds on parent company Coca-Cola’s nearly 100 years of partnership with the Olympic games. The integrated effort represents the latest evolution of Powerade’s “Pause is Power” platform, which was launched in 2022 to champion the benefits of taking deliberate pauses as needed to come back stronger. 

Central to the campaign is a hero spot, “The Vault,” featuring Biles as she prepares to practice her sport amid a backdrop of media commentary. With a breath, the athlete tunes out the noise and begins her routine, with a slow-motion flip with voice-over commentary about her athletic performance before shifting to her own voice. Biles can then be heard reflecting on her choice to “take a pause” — the gymnastics legend notably withdrew from the women’s team final at the Tokyo games — before reminding herself to “do it for the little girl,” landing as a young child is seen watching from the stands. 

Creative for the effort was directed by Somesuch director Kim Gehrig, the recipient of the 2023 Emmy Award for outstanding commercial. Created by WPP Open X, led by Ogilvy, the campaign is supported by EssenceMediacom, David Miami and VML along with AlterEko and Form&Fun. 

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Additional creative will feature Team Powerade athletes, each who also help comprise Team Coca-Cola’s roster of international athletes. Each athlete similarly has a story of moments when they’ve taken a pause and come back stronger, among them including Olympians Mathilde Gros, Harrie Lavreysen and Tyler Wright. Athletes’ stories will roll out globally, appearing in vignettes, across social, digital, out-of-home (OOH) and broadcast channels. 

The emotional campaign from Powerade could help it shore up stronger brand loyalty in the competitive sports drink market, which is expected to achieve a global valuation of $32.89 billion by 2030, up from $22.71 billion in 2022. Tied to its efforts, the brand will also unveil Powerade Gold, a beverage designed specifically for the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games. The new flavor will feature a blend of golden fruits formulated to deliver an energizing and refreshing taste, per the release. 

Also tied to its campaign, Powerade will create a bespoke Olympic Village experience in collaboration with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The experience will offer an environment for physical recovery, respite and innovative virtual visualization practices while also offering a space for mental health conversations.

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Other brands have similarly tapped into recent Olympics hype. For Nike, the Summer Olympics will serve as a showcase of its retooled marketing strategy that favors “bolder and more distinctive” brand marketing. Puma is placing a bigger emphasis on sport performance with its first global campaign in a decade, which includes dedicated creative for the Summer Olympics. Athleta will also extend its recently launched “Find Your Movement” campaign — which also features Biles — around the sporting event, while Anheuser-Busch InBev brand Michelob Ultra will be the exclusive beer sponsor of Team USA. 

This article was written by Jessica Deyo from Marketing Dive and was legally licensed through the DiveMarketplace by Industry Dive. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].