Gatorade has done some wonderful advertising. These ads aren’t wonderful. The brand may come to regret them.
With these ads, Gatorade goes from aspirational to judgmental. Imagine a svelte model intercepting people as they attempt to enter a Victoria’s Secret store and rejecting those who aren’t the “right” body type. Imagine a cowboy behind the counter of a gas station or convenience store rejecting people who attempt to purchase Marlboros if they do not seem masculine enough. Imagine Michael Jordan in a Sports Authority rejecting people who attempt to purchase Nike shoes if the people do not seem sufficiently athletic.
Gatorade’s ads should give prospective customers a small sample of what it feels like to consume Gatorade. These ads give those prospects a sample of what it feels like to be judged inadequate by Gatorade.
Logically Gatorade might claim that the people in the ads are denied Gatorade not because of who they are but because they are not sweating enough. Unfortunately for Gatorade, viewers don’t react to ads logically. Viewers of the ads experience people like themselves being found wanting by Gatorade. In these ads, the brand comes across as a bully.