Gatorade (PEP), the official sponsor of the NBA’s developmental league, is using their partnership with the G-League for more than just branding; they’re using its players as “lab rats”. The G-League and the Gatorade Sports Science Institute are working together to test product formulations and ingredients that will advance hydration and fueling techniques. Gatorade Head of Consumer engagement Kenny Mitchell describes a process where new products are tested at the developmental level and then launched with NBA players, who have the reach and influence to showcase the latest innovation.

Howie Long-Short: Gatorade recently introduced the GX sports fuel customization platform. The GX ecosystem combines Gatorade’s science-backed products with newly designed equipment and real-time biometric and tracking technologies, to provide athlete specific fueling recommendations. Technological innovations include a smart cap (for squeeze bottles) and a digital sweat patch. I like the decision by the Pepsi Co. subsidiary to go down the sports science route. Performance fuel pods and personalized bottles are new revenue streams for a company that needed to rebrand itself, as sales of its sugary drink have declined.

Fan Marino: Gatorade was recently fined $300,000 by the California AG for disparaging water. Yes, you read that right. In 2012, the company released an iPhone game called Bolt! The premise of the game was to run through the levels, drink Gatorade to remain fueled and avoid dangerous water that would compromise the game character’s performance. AG Xavier Becerra found the message to be “morally wrong and a betrayal of trust”. It was a video game targeting teenagers. The taxpayer’s dollars spent prosecuting this case should have been used elsewhere.

Gatorade’s NBA Partnership Focuses On Innovation, Not Just Rebranding

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