Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Walmart...is that really G?

I promise I have thoughts, theories, wonders and queries that extend beyond the breakdown of a 30 second spot (yes I meant to rhyme in a lame fashion there). However, I recently saw an ad that got me going. It was a very simple Walmart ad featuring Gatorade. There was not a whole lot to it other a Walmart store and an explanation that they carriy Gatorade at a low price (I apologize but I am not seeing it on YouTube right now, I promise I am not making anything up and that it does exist).

My initial reaction was a surprise that Gatorade wants to partner up with Walmart. I quickly found out that this reaction put me in the minority of thinking. My roommate along with anyone else I brought this topic up with made similar claims like, "Why wouldn't a brand want to be in a Walmart commercial? Walmart has millions upon millions of customers every day." As we all know Walmart and Google run the world so obviously I agree that the vast majority of consumer products would love to be featured in a Walmart ad.

Yet, I question whether it is a smart move in the specific case of Gatorade. Gatorade is in the rare circumstance of dominating a category. I understand that it is getting harder to keep its crown considering the success of Vitamin Water and the introduction of newly competing products almost every day. I also imagine that even a company like Gatorade is having issues with the well documented southern turn of financial frugality (that is my fancy way of avoiding the E word).

That being said, I go back to advertising 101. Is an action that is a possible detriment to your brand in the long run worth the opportunity to help sales in the short term. I mean no disrespect to Walmart but sites like this exist for a reason. And for the record I thoroughly enjoy that site and hope it continues to deliver the goods.

I know my perception of Walmart being the place we went when me and my renegade friends needed to buy  toilet paper in Costcoesque bulk for mischievous high school behavior is probably not the same as millions of others around the country. But Gatorade has spent years building one of the strongest brands there is. Most of us have probably seen this commercial...

...and frankly I think it is great (who doesn't love a good montage). You know what I don't think; that it screams Walmart in any way, shape, form, color, texture, etc.

I am more than willing to listen to the argument that being paired up with Walmart is too great an opportunity to pass up. However, I imagine that the vast majority of consumers would be able to gather that Walmart stocks Gatorade. Over the past thirty years Gatorade has built itself up into a monster brand that people love and respect. Gatorade's brand was crafted with amazing work like this...

Not by selling out to the man...did I just sell out to the man by using the term, selling out to the man? Probs.

One love, one heart

Eric McPherson

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