I haven’t been inspired by much lately in advertising, until this week. No, I’m not talking about Nike’s new #AlwaysBelieve ad after the Cavaliers’ win, but when this ad (below) started, I thought it might be a Nike ad. It wasn’t. Instead, I was impressed and moved by Gatorade’s new “Never Lose the Love” ad, created by agency TBWA \ CHIAT \ DAY \ LA.
Gatorade gets back to why so many of us loved sports to begin with–they’re fun. They’re fun to play and fun to watch.
Lately, though, professional sports has become more about the gobs of money athletes make, and the high cost of tickets has shut out many true sports fans who have remained loyal for so many winning or losing years. Professional sports–and even college sports–are fraught with controversy and crime, and crime that turns into controversy.
My own lifetime love for watching sports has dwindled as games, especially during playoffs and finals seem rigged for TV ratings (read “cash”), and athletes in different sports test positive for performance-enhancing drugs or cheat in other ways. The line in the sand for me was drawn when alleged rapist Jameis Winston received the Heisman Award and then a $25 million contract as starting quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Sports seems to have forgotten sportsmanship.
As sports has become all about business, the love has disappeared–from fans and even from players. The humanity of it has eroded as well.
What has Gatorade done?
Gatorade gave us something we can’t resist, something we forget sometimes on our career paths, no matter what we choose–dreams. As the background music (Jimmy Durante’s Young at Heart) says:
“Fairy tales do come true, they can happen to you, if you’re young at heart…”
That’s why this one commercial has such widespread appeal. We all–even athletes making hundreds of millions of dollars–need to be reminded of who we were and how we felt as kids. Remember approaching the world with wide-open eyes, excited about anything new?
Possibilities were infinite, dreams still gave us a sense of hope for our future, and we always took advantage of opportunities to play and have fun.
The best never lose that love.
Gatorade ends their commercial with those words onscreen–the best never lose that love. And it’s true. This isn’t just an advertisement, it’s almost a self-help reminder. The best in most professions still approach each day with the energy they did in childhood.
One of my favorite parts though is when track star Usain Bolt is in the blocks ready to run and his child self is in front of him saying “Wow, how amazing is this!”
Sometimes we get so tied down by the work, the sheer amount of it or routine of it and we forget about why we chose this profession in the first place. Gatorade is encouraging us not to let hard work obscure the gratitude and the wonder of it all.
They even go a step further and highlight each athlete in separate videos, in which they talk about their childhood and how they became star athletes. You can check out the short video stories of Usain Bolt, Serena Williams and April Ross. Each one urges you to help “fuel the love forward” and sends you to Gatorade’s For the Love of Sports page where you can vote to choose a charity you think Gatorade should support.
This is basically “feel good” advertising at its best, and connecting us to this sort of humanity is exactly what we need right now. Go check it out.